HP's Lesson: Acquisitions, Outside Hires Rarely Work

Hewlett-Packard recently wrote down its purchase price for Autonomy and is now questioning the company’s real sales figures Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Hewlett-Packard just wrote down about 80 percent of its purchase price for software company Autonomy and is now in a nasty PR battle with Autonomy’s founder about the company’s real sales figures. And yes, HP has also written down billions of dollars from its purchase price for EDS, a buy that was supposed to make it more competitive with IBM in services.  Having also hired a series of outside chief executive officers—all of whom left under duress—the company offers a cautionary, well-documented, but nonetheless oft-ignored tale for other companies. Intel, for one, seems to be flirting with the idea of going outside for a successor to CEO Paul Otellini, who has announced he will retire in May.

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