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Autonomy Chief Says Whitman Is Watering Down HP Fraud Claims 117

Posted by timothy
from the series-of-tangled-webs dept.
McGruber writes "Possibly the wierdest tax-writeoff of the year happened when Meg Whitman claimed that her US-based multinational corporation HP had been defrauded by British-software firm Autonomy; Ms. Whitman and HP claimed an 8.8 billion dollar write-down. As the Los Angeles Times explains, 'HP acquired Autonomy in 2011 for $11 billion, a move it hoped would turn it away from its dependence on sales of computer hardware with its low profit margins, and into the more profitable business of software. However, the price HP paid was widely criticized for being too high, and in part led to the subsequent ouster of Chief Executive Leo Apotheker.' The wierdness continues — in its annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, HP claims that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into HP's allegations that HP has uncovered widespread accounting fraud at Autonomy. However, The Guardian points out that former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch claims that HP 'is watering down the accusations it had levelled against him over the accounts filed by his old software company.' Mr. Lynch also says that he has not been contacted by the U.S. Department of Justice, which HP claims is investigating the alleged fraud. Perhaps Slashdot's users can help make sense of this mess and help explain it to me?"
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Autonomy Chief Says Whitman Is Watering Down HP Fraud Claims

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  • Nothing to explain (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:28PM (#42426739) Homepage Journal
    Someone is lying
  • by garyisabusyguy (732330) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:34PM (#42426787)

    HP wants to be what IBM used to be (and still struggles to be), the single source provider for their customer

    Autonomy looked like a great opportunity, but just like inexpensive hardware has undercut high-end server sales, open source solutions and tens of thousands of developers using those tools have undercut their market and dimmed the rosy projections that made HP willing to lay down so much cash

    I think that this is less about Autonomy's shrinking value and more about HP's willingness to pay any price to enter new markets and their failure to recognize an opportunity to drive down the selling price by being willing to walk away from the deal

    On Autonomy's part, they 'enhanced shareholder value' and returned a greater profit to them by negotiating the highest selling price possible, Do we really expect corporations to behave differently?

  • the real fraud (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:35PM (#42426791)
    Ever since HP bought Compaq (a deal that brought them nothing that they didn't already have) for more than the Chinese later paid for BM's PC division, they have been on a downhill spiral. And the cause of the decline seems to survive by telling the board "don't fire me now, you need to see this through". Meanwhile she keeps taking millions for an inability to run a once great company.
  • HP used to be good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @12:46PM (#42426859)
    About 15 years ago I was buying an HP printer from Canada's equivalent to Best Buy and they were trying to do the usual crap warranty upsell. I told the guy, "For $10 off I'll take an HP product with no warranty." That was 15 years ago. I recently opened a cheap little HP inkjet and the included black cartridge had zero ink in it. I don't mean it had dried out but it had never contained ink as I cut it open and found no sign of ink. I didn't flip out or was even a tiny bit surprised. This is what I expect from HP products.

    The same with HP laptops; I expect a mountain of bloated trialware that will be a huge pain to remove and a variety of other cheapnesses such as the whole split left shift key thing.

    I also buy servers and with no experience at all with HP servers would simply not touch them with a bargepole due to my experiences with the rest of their product line. But back to their older products. I know people with older(10 years+) laserjets that just keep going and going; while I know others with newer colour laser jets where the red is fading due to dust buildup on a mirror buried deep inside the machine.

    And don't get me going on the prices of toner and ink. So my guess is that HP is a company run by MBA types "proving" all kinds of "facts" using spreadsheets while leaving the basics such as loyal happy customers in the dust as those things don't spreadsheet very well. If you are wondering what I mean by the misuse of spreadsheets think about this scenario: You are HP and you have some new trialware product to add to your latest laptop. The product looks like it will make an average of $16.95 per machine. You expect to sell 300,000 units. Well that works out to 6 million dollars. Then you add another trialware column, and another, and another. Soon those machines are simply printing money. But how do you calculate the number of customers who will never buy another HP after realizing that they basically just bought the electronic equivalent to postal junk flyers? Not so easy to put that into a spreadsheet; you can but it tends to be built on more fuzzy information that can be tainted with optimism. My personal guess is that a goodly portion of high priced Apple's sales are built upon people seeing a machine that didn't come with Norton AV and its bloaty brethren. These technologically unsophisticated people then reason that it is worth double to not get this crap. I like Apple products so I am not casting aspersions and I also know that there are many other reasons people buy them both worthy and shallow but I know many people who have no inclination to waste one second fighting with their machine and value their time accordingly.

    So when I hear that HP is squabbling over $11 billion that would potentially be detectable from the proper use of spreadsheets (accounting) I just laugh like a drain.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday December 30, 2012 @02:55PM (#42427633) Journal
    The fact is, that Whitman is a worthless MBA. She has left a trail of destruction, except at e-bay. Of course, e-bay had such a good thing going, that it was not surprising. But, HP is being brought down by her, similar to the way that IBM and others are going down.

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