4. Hewlett-Packard Will Struggle To Become A Software Vendor
The fact that software accounts for a paltry three percent of HP's sales was the chief reason behind then-CEO Leo Apotheker's decision to acquire Autonomy for a whopping $10.3 billion -- seen as a bold move by some and an expensive mistake by others. Will it succeed? A look back at HP's software company acquisitions turns up a long list including Bluestone Software (2001 for $470 million), Peregrine Systems (2005 for $425 million), Outerbay (2006, price undisclosed), Opsware (2007 for $1.6 billion), Exstream Software (2008 for $371 million), and dozens of smaller acquisitions. Despite all those acquisitions, however, software just doesn't seem to be a core component of HP's business. HP's repeated efforts to launch a business intelligence line of products, for example, just never seems to get off the ground. Throw in the fact that HP doesn't have a great track record of making big acquisitions work -- it increasingly looks like its $1.2 billion investment to buy Palm was a bust -- and there's reason to be skeptical of the Autonomy deal.