Since I am in Los Angeles this week, I am in a Dragnet kind of a mood, and as Sgt. Joe Friday would say – “All we know are the facts, ma'am"

The facts are:
• The HP acquisition of Mercury is completed
• The cost to HP $4.5 billion in cash
• The acquisition was announced on July 25, 2006
• The acquisition was closed on November 7, 2006

All we know are the facts – all we know for certain.

The more important issues around this acquisition are about what is not seen or heard. On, banner ads for HP and Mercury, HP printers and toner, HP storage, and HP laptops rotate. The position of “Business outcome. The next big thing in IT” swaps places with HP’s VoodooPC acquisition. What is wrong with a headline screaming that the $4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury is complete?

Instead of boldly announcing a successfully completed acquisition in a reasonably short time, viewers are left to watch quirky ads with upside down people and upside down fonts. Perhaps Dramamine (motion sickness medication) should be offered on the site as well.

The ads also appear to confuse internal issues with customer issues. Do customers or potential customers really need to be reminded that HP paid $4.5 billion for Mercury? Every time an enterprise customer sees that number they think of what they are going to have to pay so that HP can deliver a positive ROI number.

At Mercury World, Las Vegas in October attendees were promised more detail upon the completion of the acquisition. We still do not know:
• The organizational structure - who is running what?
• The branding – does the Mercury name stay or go?
• Roadmaps – who needs HP integration and why?
• How the culture clash will be managed?

We do know that the combined sales force will meet in February of 2007! That is three months away. And, they are meeting in Boston! Boston, in the dead of winter, now there is a reward worth waiting for! Watch for former Mercury sales executives to take their Q4 commissions and head for warmer climates.

We also know the main focus of the HP CEO is to be able to invoice customers around the world! Yikes! Just a month ago, we were told the ultimate goal was to “delight” the customer. I suppose a customer can be delighted to receive an invoice.

Meanwhile, as HP tries to figure out what should be communicated internally and what is for public consumption, the battle lines are being drawn. Both Empirix and IBM have offered Mercury customers incentives to switch allegiances to their software provider…and people are not only listening, they are acting.

Empirix, with its modern technology architecture and creative approach is forcing a market disruption around testing. This vendor has been diligent at carving out a market niche for themselves in areas where Mercury did not compete. Now, Empirix has plenty of opportunities to add new customers and to satisfy their application testing needs.

IBM, the industry’s stalwart vendor, is taking advantage of its lifecycle solution and market opportunity. IBM can attract lifecycle customers with its Rational and Tivoli brands.

Now that Mercury is history, what do we know? All we know are the facts!

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What’s next?...the only thing for sure is change.