Bloomberg is quoting "people with direct knowledge of the matter" today as saying that HP is set to acquire enterprise software vendor Autonomy for a cool $10 billion -- but the far more interesting bit of the rumor is that it'll also be spinning off its PC business into a separate entity. The move would echo the metamorphosis that IBM has undergone in the past decade, converting itself from a huge, lethargic bellwether of the personal computing industry to a profitable enterprise software and services business by shedding a number of divisions, including its PC and printer groups. For what it's worth, current HP CEO Leo Apotheker came from SAP, so if he's looking to model his employer in SAP's image, this would be an appropriate move.
Where does this leave HP's webOS-powered smartphone and tablet aspirations, established just last year with its Palm acquisition? That's unclear at this point. Conveniently, HP's earnings call is set for this afternoon, which seems like a fitting moment to announce both the acquisition and the spinoff... and hopefully, some details.
We've reached out to HP for comment -- stay tuned for updates.