HP's third quarter earnings release confirms the offer to acquire information management software vendor Autonomy. As CMSWire readers know, Autonomy is also the proud owner of the assets once known as Interwoven. This makes for yet another exciting purchase in our sector, most recently following Oracle's acquisition of Fatwire Software.

To quote from their earnings highlights, one bullet point reads thus: "Offer to acquire Autonomy, a global leader in infrastructure software for the enterprise, to accelerate expansion in rapidly growing enterprise information management market."

Autonomy’s software powers a full spectrum of enterprise applications, including pan-enterprise search, customer experience management, information governance, eDiscovery, records management, archiving, business process management, web content management, web optimization, rich media management and video and audio analysis.

According to HP, the addition of Autonomy's business units will accelerate HP’s ability to deliver on its strategy to offer cloud-based solutions and software that best addresses the changing needs of businesses.

HP's CEO Leo Aptheker stated: 

"This is about a transformation to position HP for the future. These changes are fundamental for the future we all want. HP is at a critical point in its existence."

A lot of the energy around this this acquisition is going to focus on Autonomy's information management business. However, the company has significant web content management, search (IDOL) and customer experience management capabilities.

In Forrester's most recent sector report "Forrester Wave: Web Content Management for Online Customer Experience, Q3 2011" the research firm called out Adobe and SDL Tridion as leaders for their rich tapestry of functionality, but pointed to Fatwire (now Oracle), OpenText (was Vignette) and Autonomy (was Interwoven) as "strong performers".

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Forrester's Conception of Customer Experience Management (CXM) Source: Forrester

HP's acquisition of Autonomy -- while clearly also an enterprise information management play -- puts the company in the ever bulkier line-up of enterprise players making bold investments in technology that is aimed squarely at the IT budgets controlled by marketing departments.