Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg cultivated the motto, “Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube” (What others achieve by war, let you, happy Austria, achieve by marriage). This morning’s announcement that Autonomy (AUTNF) is acquiring Interwoven (IWOV) for $775M would have made Maximilian proud. Indeed, while some (including Alan Pelz-Sharpe at CMS Watch) have gone as far as to call Autonomy a holding company, I think of Autonomy more as a Habsburgian dynasty.
Autonomy’s acquisitions over the past decade include:
- Softsound (speech recognition)
- Virage (multimedia search)
- etalk (call center software)
- Verity (enterprise search)
- Blinkx (multimedia search, since divested)
- Zantaz (email archiving and litigation support)
And now Autonomy acquires Interwoven, a player in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) space. It’s not quite an AOL-acquires-Time Warner moment, but it is dramatic to see an enterprise search player acquire a content management player. Indeed, most of the speculation last year was that Autonomy would be acquired, not vice versa.
What does this mean for the rest of us? Given that Autonomy and Interwoven have both been focusing on the compliance and e-discovery space, it is reasonable to expect that the acquisition will deepen this focus. The more interesting question, at least to me, is what this means for the rest of the enterprise search space. Autonomy was recently crowing that it “has won the enterprise search wars“. That’s news to me, but I won’t claim to be objective. In any case, with Autonomy focusing its investment in the compliance / e-discovery space and Microsoft acquiring FAST in order to fold its technology into SharePoint, I do wonder what will happen to the competitive landscape of enterprise search. Will it be Endeca vs. Google?