Oracle and HP Bed Hopping - A Modern Tragedy

Outsourcing industry expert Robert Morgan, from consultancy Burnt-Oak Partners likens the changing of the guard at Oracle and HP to a Shakespeare tragedy.

I will say no more. Apart from, enjoy.

IT Industry Bed Hopping – A Modern Tragedy

By Robert Morgan


Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair California, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil actions makes civil names unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers may just take their life

Scenes One and Two

We are all witnessing an unfolding Shakespearean tragedy of epic proportions and yet few see it so clearly. At risk the crown of arguably the number one outsourcer and the number one software provider. The parallels between these “two star-cross’d lovers” is every bit as comparable as Romeo and Juliet.

The announcement that HP has appointed Leo Apotheker to be its new CEO disappointed the market and the shares dropped immediately by 4%. Not fair as Leo inspired SAP’s dramatic growth for years? Well as CEO, a position held for less than 12 months, he also presided over an almost 30% drop in revenues and was ousted without too much ceremony. Mark Hurd led his company to new heights and was the darling of Wall Street. Expenses wrongly incurred and he too dumped as yesterday’s man.

“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Larry is the Sun-microsystems guy” seducing Mark to come hither and join Oracle.

“But soft! What light through another window breaks? Why ’tis fair Leo” beckoning to Ray Lane to come join as non-executive chairman of HP. “Arise, fair son, and kill the envious Ellismoon”

Mark knoweth the HP strategy, particularly regarding the software push and maybe acquisitions too. “but hark, sweet Ray doth also know what strategy Oracle doth have on new services to be made” having been uncle Larry’s co-President all these days. Oracle has also just raised $5bn to add to its acquisition war-chest. What knowest Ray of such things?

So these two star cross’d lovers still have the final act to play out. Book your seats for the 2011 – 2012 season. Will one or both demise? Only a wise man or a fool would guess what likely path young Will’s rewritten prose will take. Which competitors are likely for a friendly overture and will they be told “How stands your disposition to be married?” Who will say “It is an honour that I dream not of…” and who will say “O’ happy dagger here is thy sheath.”

Potential Market Epilogue

“O, They doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems they hang upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in the IT industry’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo