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In the space of a few weeks, the Vertica team grew so frustrated with Lynch's domineering that employees created a T-shirt to voice their anger. The shirt, which bears an image of a coiled rattlesnake and reads 'Don't Tread On Me, Vertica Systems, Cambridge, Mass.,' is a reference to the Gadsen flag used by the original 13 American colonies during the pre-Revolutionary War era.
In March of this year, Vertica CEO Chris Lynch left HP. Then, in a move insiders say was aimed at quieting the discord, HP moved Vertica away from Autonomy and into its software division. Autonomy's troubles were just beginning, though, as several high-profile executives jumped ship, including its president, Sushovan Hussein, CTO Peter Menell, CMO Nicole Eagan and COO Andy Kanter. Then in May, Lynch was shown the door after what Whitman described as "disappointing" financial results.
"Disappointing" doesn't begin to describe Autonomy's performance, however. Sources told CRN that while Lynch clashed with Whitman during company meetings, the last straw was when he missed HP's services revenue, renewals and new license targets by more than 90 percent during HP's fiscal second quarter.
HP is accusing Lynch of accounting improprieties and has referred the matter to authorities in the U.S. and U.K. Lynch, for his part, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and created a public website to rebut HP's claims.
It’s all good theater, but sources told CRN that even without the accounting issues, Autonomy is more of a solutions and consulting company than a product company, and HP has found integrating it to be a tougher challenge than expected. Sources also said Autonomy has a huge portfolio of products, which confuses customers and partners and overlaps with some of HP's existing portfolio. Figuring out which parts fit with HP's big data plans is one of the challenges HP will face as it tries to integrate the assets from the Autonomy deal.
Autonomy has too many products and HP will need to figure out which fit best with its big data vision, Joe Heinzen, senior vice president of sales at MicroTech, a Vienna, Va.-based solution provider that was an Autonomy partner long before HP acquired it, told CRN. Autonomy partners have also suffered from a lack of access to training, Heinzen said, and the company's server-based licensing model has also been a barrier to sales.
Autonomy has operated for years under the assumption that its unique technology would give it an unassailable market position, but Heinzen believes it's high time for HP to change this culture.
"Autonomy is a very sophisticated product that works well with data, video or voice. But there are products out there that are also equipped to handle those data types," Heinzen said. "Autonomy has been reluctant to accept that other companies can do what they do. They've been drinking their own Kool-Aid."