Product briefings planned for HP customers in wake of Mercury buy

HP Australia absorbs 64 Mercury staff

Hewlett Packard (HP) Australia is hosting briefings with local customers in the wake of its $US4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury which officially closed last week.

HP officially absorbed all 3,000 Mercury staff last week as well as it's 14,000 customers across the globe. This includes 64 Australian Mercury staff.

HP Australia has 40 software staff so the acquisition will bring headcount to over 100.

Following the acquisition HP plans to gradually retire OpenView and Mercury brands in favour of a unified HP Software brand with a single business technology optimization (BTO) category.

Senior vice president of software at HP, Tom Hogan, said the new direction has been set and it's a new game.

"You should see the Mercury and OpenView brands fade away over time," Hogan said adding that HP plans to retain most of its existing individual product names under the planned HP Software BTO umbrella including Mercury's Systinet and LoadRunner.

The change in branding is HP's way to elevate its conversations with CIOs above specific point solutions to reflect an over-arching BTO strategy.

HP Australia has set up local teams to actively go out to the installed customer base around specific product roadmaps. In addition to e-mails and direct mailouts the company has also set up a Web site

Overall, HP customers and members of the OpenView Forum International user group have responded positively to the buyout claiming Mercury has "great technology" that will add performance management tools and applications management tools to the HP OV portfolio. OpenView has about 15,000 users.

HP Australia customer and CIO of chartered accountantancy firm PKF, Mark Carmichael, said the acquisition "works" but he will be monitoring the direction of product roadmaps in the near future.

A spokesperson for HP Australia said there is little overlap between HP and Mercury's portfolios, and in many areas "the combination is more compelling than the component parts".

"At present workgroups that involve both HP and Mercury employees are assessing the two company's product lines to create a common roadmap that will allow customers to build on their existing technology investments," he said.

The spokesperson also confirmed the company is briefing new Mercury employees describing them as the company's most important assets.

"Any future decisions about the make-up of the combined HP-Mercury workforce will be discussed with employees," the spokesperson said.

HP doesn't plan to disrupt Mercury's operations during Mercury's fourth fiscal quarter, which closes on December 31, 2006. However, HP is likely to announce some "extremely modest" redundancies in support and back-office operations, the company confirmed. Layoffs are likely to involve former Mercury staff.

- with China Martens

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