Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Yes, There Are Layoffs Pending at HP’s Autonomy Unit in the U.K.

layoffs_380x285There are layoffs coming at Hewlett-Packard’s U.K.-based Autonomy software unit, but not quite so many as a report in the Daily Mail suggests.

That newspaper reported today, in a thinly sourced story, that as many as 200 people were due to lose their jobs at the British software subsidiary in a shake-up expected soon.

Sources familiar with the company’s plans tell AllThingsD that the number of jobs expected to be cut is actually fewer than 70; the cuts will focus on sales personnel, all of whom were originally hired prior to HP’s acquisition of the company. Additionally, the job cuts were put in motion in September, well before HP made public its intention to write down the value of Autonomy by about $5 billion. Layoffs in European countries, like those in the U.K., are more complicated to carry out, and so take months to complete.

In explaining the writedown, HP, which paid north of $11 billion for Autonomy in 2011, alleged that the British company’s executives essentially cooked the books in order to make Autonomy appear more valuable than it was. It has reported its findings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office.

Mike Lynch, the founder and former CEO of Autonomy, has rejected HP’s allegations, and accused it of mismanaging the company after the acquisition closed.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik