HP buys Mercury – is it IBM envy?

I heard a lot about Mercury at the Rational Users Conference.  How they had a good product but were having problems delivering on product promises…I’ll give them a pass there, all software and companies have issues.

It caught my attention not that they were acquired but by which company, HP of course.  It is good in any number of ways that they did this.  Sure Mercury is a big competitor of Rational, but if you’ve read any of my blogs, I like competition, it makes you better or your beaten.   The fact that HP is strengthening it’s middleware to compete confirms to me that we are on the right track.  You don’t copy a losers strategy hope to stay in business.   I’m looking forward to the fight there.

It’s also good as it gives Rational some time to move forward during the HP/Merc aquisition and integration phase, always a time of slowdown while you evaluate how to integrate multiple HR, benefit, Accounting, manager redundancy issues to begin as one company.  My favorite is marketing departments having to combine…talk about the department of redundancy department.

Companies acquire other companies all the time.  Why I care about this one was that it was pointed out to me by a number of analyst’s that HP (specifically Carly) had IBM envy and specifically Lou (Gerstner) envy when they acquired Compaq.  The reason given was for a play in the Services market that IBM had explored, developed and became the market leader.   Now they are trying to be a middleware player.  Back to trying who to emulate, IBM is a good role model if you do it right.  I don’t see them as a Services force, albeit they are a player.
Not that Mercury was a bad acquisition, nor that trying to be a middleware player is bad either, but the 4.5 billion seemed excessive to me for a company that has problems like stock option issues, multiple acquistions recently, product delivery.  Maybe I don’t know the rest of the story yet. Given they way overpaid for what they got out of Compaq (what happened to the iPaq sales?)  it seems as though they pay too much for what they get.

Mark Hurd has done a great job fixing the screw ups that Carly created, but 4.5 billion is a lot of change….

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