Would Oracle actually buy HP?

Eric Savis at Forbes magazine has floated an idea he calls “thinking the unthinkable”: that ERP giant Oracle Corp. could make a bid for for struggling Hewlett-Packard Co.

 Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Savis has been down this road before, speculating on what exactly an Oracle/HP world might look like back in March.

While there’s plenty of antipathy we between the two, I see a sign of weakness in HP’s annopuncement Monday it’s increasing the number of jobs it’s cutting to 29,000 from 27,000, almost a signal that the company’s willing to make itself a more attractive target.

HP to trim 27,000 jobs as part of restructuring program

HP will combine PC and printer divisions, report says

It might seem outlandish, but, let’s face it, over the past two-and-a-half years, HP’s got to be in the running for the Most Erratically Managed Company Award, what with the board canning CEO Mark Hurd (now at Oracle), hiring SAP reject Leo Apotheker (with no experience in running a hardware company), finally turning to Meg Whitman for a semblance of stability and vision. (There was also, of course, the flip-flop over the company’s personal systems group; once slated to be spun off, that move was reversed with Apotheker’s departure.)

Oracle has never seemed particularly thrilled with its purchase of Sun Microsoystems’ hardware business back in 2009 (hysterically, one blogger posted that Oracle had acquired Sun CEO Jonathan Schwarz’s blog and some ancilliary hardware and software business in a post I can’t seem to track down; if you can find it, post in the comments below).

HP’s services offering has weight with the purchase of EDS, which is probably a more compelling play for Oracle. HP’s server line could be integrated into the existed (formerly Sun) line, replace the existing line altogether, or be sold to a very big hardware shop looking to buy customers; the personal systems group meets its intended fate and is spunoff as its own entity.

All rampant speculation obviously. But Savis makes a case for the numbers working in his Forbes article. Read it all here.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.

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