Proofpoint CEO Takes Aim at HP Autonomy

Michael Vizard

There’s obviously a lot of debate these days concerning the merits of the acquisition of Autonomy by Hewlett-Packard. Much of that debate is focused on whether HP was duped into overpaying for Autonomy. But to hear Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele tell it, that may not be the only surprise in store for HP.

According to Steele, the majority of the current use cases for Autonomy involve information governance and archiving applications that were custom-built. But Steele argues that the whole information governance space is quickly shifting into the cloud using services such as those provided by Proofpoint. While HP obviously has ambitions to deliver a whole range of information governance services in the cloud using Autonomy software, Steele contends the space is already quickly becoming a commodity.


By way of example, Steele says Proofpoint already offers flat-fee pricing for an unlimited amount of archival storage. The service not only comes with service-level agreements attached, but Steele says it’s highly searchable using a suite of applications developed by Proofpoint that are not tied to a specific set of HP storage technologies.

It’s hard to say for certain how HP will fare in the future in terms of selling Autonomy products and services. But it is likely that a lot of existing Autonomy customers are at least exploring their options, which is one reason competitors such as Proofpoint are striking a more aggressive tone.

The good news at least is that more people than ever are asking what it is that HP Autonomy actually does. The bad news for HP is that there are a lot more competitors out there than perhaps HP fully appreciated before deciding to acquire Autonomy.

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