This is in stark contrast to competitors IBM, Oracle and SAP, all of which have been focused on making software acquisitions as "part of a massive preparation for the next wave of information technology spending, which will focus on the information itself," writes Smith. Unlike those competitors, HP sat out the flurry of business intelligence acquisitions in late 2007.
Smith speculates on the company's next moves. He thinks it will likely have to make an acquisition or acquisitions now, and suggests MicroStrategy, Teradata, Informatica, Actuate, Information Builders, QlikView, Tibco or Pervasive as possible candidates. HP likely would have to pay a premium, as all of these companies are successful. HP could also make a far more dramatic move, by purchasing SAP or Infor, writes Smith.
Smith essentially advises existing Neoview customers to bail, "to start to think about plans for BI and broader analytics beyond HP; these tools are too important to your processes and decision-making to wait for HP to straighten out its business approach and leadership."
Of course HP denies it plans to cut its Neoview business, reports Doug Henschen in InformationWeek. Henschen doesn't sound entirely convinced. Noting an HP spokesperson told him customers could buy Neoview "today, tomorrow or next week," he wrote:
It was a curious way to phrase a denial in that it begged the question, 'What about next month or next year?' But the spokesperson stuck to saying that no changes had been announced pertaining to Neoview or the BI Solutions unit.
Henschen obtained an internal HP memo confirmed as authentic by the company, in which HP acknowledged leadership changes in its business intelligence unit and advised employees to reassure customers that "HP is firmly committed to the business intelligence and analytics markets."
Perhaps the most worrisome thing for HP is that few observers seem surprised by this move. Writing on IT-Director.com, Bloor Research Director Philip Howard says the Neoview product was "hugely over-engineered for fault tolerance and not enough for performance," showing a basic misunderstanding of data warehousing, and suffered from confusing marketing messages.
The most fundamental problem with HP's efforts to crack the BI market was its lack of commitment to software, says Howard. He writes:
I am not the first to say this but HP's philosophy has always been that software is a way to sell more tin – and if you're focused on tin then it should come as no surprise when you become a graveyard for any software businesses you acquire.