Wait, WHAT? HP buying Aruba, say deep-throats

I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it

HP is breaking its moratorium on acquisitions. Super-secret-squirrel rumor-mongers say HP is buying Aruba Networks, a leading Wi-Fi infrastructure outfit.

CEO Meg Whitman promised recently that the venerable Palo Alto company will start making targeted buys. So this would be one of those, then.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers get connected.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Alex Sherman and Ed Hammond tag-tag with wild whispers from "people with knowledge of the matter":

Hewlett-Packard Co. is in talks to acquire Aruba...a maker of wireless-network infrastructure used by hotels, universities and shopping malls.

This would be the largest acquisition in several years for [HP], where...Whitman has been focused on cutting costs and returning the business to growth.

[HP and Aruba] declined to comment.  MORE

It's been a while since we've heard about an HP acquisition, as Richard Chirgwin notes:

HP looks like breaking its long embargo on large acquisitions.

[Aruba's] recent wins include Wanda Group malls and California State University. [Its] market value is around [$2.5 billion].  MORE

But Jon Gold channels critical customer reax:

CEO Meg Whitman said earlier this week that the company is in a position to make acquisitions. ... That led to HP stock taking a downturn, while shares of Aruba have spiked...21% as of this writing.

A buyout might not be welcome news to networking professionals. Lee Badman, a network administrator at Syracuse University, said that Aruba is “a class act,” and...“I think the HP name kinda tarnishes the Aruba brand [which is] associated with innovation, quality, and good stewardship of all of their product lines. [But] HP keeps trying to re-invent itself and hasn’t been impressive in the WLAN space.”  MORE

Yes, but why? Tiernan Ray guns the numbers: [You're fired -Ed.]

The logic of the deal would be as a challenge to Cisco Systems' dominant position in wireless networking equipment. ... Dell’Oro Group [says] HP and Aruba had ~5% and ~13% [of the] Enterprise WLAN [market] in 3Q14, with Cisco...at ~52%.

The wireless LAN market is a healthy one, with another big driver of gear sales coming: 802.11ac.  MORE

Meanwhile, Barb Darrow charts some history, referring to the disastrous and controversial pachyderm dans la chambre:

It sounds like [HP] is shaking off the post-Autonomy jitters. ... Since HP’s...$11 billion buy of Autonomy...Whitman has said the company will look at smaller, more targeted acquisitions.

The move would give HP, which already offers its own “converged campus networking” gear, a bigger footprint in wireless mobile. [It's] reminiscent of Cisco’s purchase of Meraki.  MORE

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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