As part of Hewlett-Packard's move toward a software focus, the company announced that it has made an offer to buy Autonomy for more than $10 billion.

This is but the latest in a growing list of sudden announcements by HP, coming at the same time that the company disclosed plans to discontinue WebOS support, and partially or completely spin off its PC operations into a separate business. It also comes on the same day that HP announced a lowering of its third- and fourth-quarter expectations, along with a marked decrease in share prices.

The estimated $10 billion-plus deal is comprised of an offer for $42.11 per share for all outstanding shares valuing Autonomy at $10.2 billion, with various reports suggesting anywhere between a 60 to 75 percent premium. Autonomy's shares rose on speculation of potential competing offers.

Autonomy has been in business since 1996, when Dr Michael Lynch and Richard Gaunt spun it off from research being down at Cambridge Neurodynamics. Two years later, the company went public and managed to not only survive but thrive after the dot-com crisis of the late 1990's. Throughout the next decade, Autonomy continued to refine its content management and enterprise search offerings, and developing its trademark meaning-based computing (MBC).

MBC essentially focuses on what CEO Mike Lynch refers to as human-friendly or unstructured information or the sort of data that computers traditionally have difficulty processing -- but which can account for up to 85 percent of the important information for a company, including text, images, audio, and video data, as well as social networking web site content. Autonomy's Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) allows computers to process and make predictions based on data in situations in which humans were traditionally required. But there is even more to Autonomy that make it a smart buy, according to analysts such as Eric Knorr of InfoWorld.

A little-known fact is that the company operates one of the world's largest public clouds, writes Knorr, containing petabytes of its customers' compliance-sensitive material. HP has yet to establish a presence in the cloud sector, and acquiring Autonomy could be a giant step towards becoming a major player in the enterprise-level cloud ecosystem -- an area in which HP CEO Leo Apotheker has already expressed significant interest.

James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at Page Rage provides free Facebook layouts and Facebook backgrounds for your Facebook profile. PageRage caters to numerous styles and design preferences.