May 13, 2008

M & A's Back, and in a Big (HP) Way

Today, HP announced that it will purchase EDS for $13.9 billion, and in the process HP will have a professional services arm that can go head-to-head with IBM Global Services. With HP's recent purchases of Opsware, HP's returned to the software business. With the upcoming purchase of EDS, HP will have complete portfolio of hardware, software, and services to compete with Big Blue.

A long, long time ago, in a state far, far away, I was an EDS employee in Plano, Texas. I was a Research Systems Engineer back then, developing an in-house CASE tool that was used to generate form-driven DB applications. That was 1991, shortly after Ross Perot had departed, and Dick Brown was CEO. EDS had "relaxed" its dress code back then: double-breasted suits were allowed, and striped shirts were also acceptable. The employee manual did stipulate that the stripes could be no wider than 1/4", and shoes with metal buckles were still verboten. Employees had to wear their suit jacket whenever they travelled to another floor, another building on campus, or the cafeteria. And you had to wear a tie 24x7, even at midnight in the office. (But you could loosen our ties then.)

I'd imagine that EDS has relaxed its dress code since the 90's, but it's corporate culture is vastly different from the "HP Way." It will be interesting to see how this merger pans out.

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