2. Hewlett-Packard's Autonomy Turmoil
It must have seemed like a good idea at the time: Acquire a company with a broad information management applications portfolio to expand HP's software offerings. But HP's $11.1 billion acquisition of Autonomy turned into an embarrassing fiasco. The first hints of trouble came in May when Autonomy co-founder and CEO Mike Lynch (pictured) was fired when Autonomy returned what HP CEO Meg Whitman described as "disappointing" financial results. Then channel partners complained they didn't have access to Autonomy products. But the real extent of the mess came to light last month when HP took an $8.8 billion write-down for "serious accounting improprieties" and "disclosure failures" that it said inflated Autonomy's price tag. There's some serious finger-pointing going on between Whitman, Lynch, HP's board of directors, former HP CEO Leo Apotheker, former HP strategy executive Shane Robinson, accounting firms Deloitte and KPMG, and other parties. A shareholder lawsuit has been filed. And all the while HP channel partners and customers can only watch from the sidelines and shake their heads.