7 June 2002 Hewlett-Packard (HP) has announced plans to stop making ebusiness integration software, after disappointing sales.
In an analyst presentation earlier this week, HP’s executive president of enterprise systems Peter Blackmore said that the company had suffered heavy losses on developing and selling its own proprietary middleware and that, in future, it will partner with other software companies. Customers will still be able to buy integration software from HP, but on an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) basis.
The core piece of software HP is looking to retire is its application server software, acquired from Bluestone Software in October 2000. In November 2001, it announced it would give away its application server for free, only charging customers for add-on features.
But despite HP’s overall software business accounting for more than $1 billion (€1.1bn) in annual sales, it has been dogged by losses in middleware products. Since HP got the go-ahead for its merger with rival systems vendor Compaq in May 2002, its main aim has been to turn around loss-making elements of its business, including PCs and software.
Blackmore’s comments to analysts may be premature, however. The company is not due to formally announce its software strategy until the end of June.
Analysts believe the company is likely to leave the integration software market altogether, having been unable to penetrate a market already dominated by companies such as IBM and Sun Microsystems. Instead, they say, it is likely to focus on more buoyant areas of its software business, such as its systems management suite OpenView.