Autonomy boss in spat with US rival

 
Steve Dinneen
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MIKE Lynch, chief executive of soon-to-be-sold Autonomy, has been drawn into a bitter war of words with rival technology boss Larry Ellison.

The Oracle chief accused Lynch of having a “very poor memory or lying” about a personal visit he allegedly made to Oracle’s headquarters to try to pitch Autonomy as a takeover target.

Lynch issued a swift rebuttal, saying “some bank” must have been behind the approach, and accused Ellison of a lack of understanding of Autonomy’s technology.

Ellison said he dismissed it because of its “absurdly” high price. He added it would be easy to prove because Oracle still has the presentation used in the pitch, which he said was also attended by dotcom banker Frank Quattrone.

A statement from Oracle says: “The truth is that Mr Lynch came to Oracle, along with his investment banker, Frank Quattrone, and met with Oracle’s head of mergers and acquisitions, Douglas Kehring and Oracle President Mark Hurd at 11am on 1 April, 2011.”

HP later agreed to buy Autonomy in a deal worth more than $10bn (£6.38bn), which has been badly received by some shareholders.

Another increasingly bitter rivalry reached a new low yesterday, with Google accusing Microsoft of using “extortion” to try to save its stumbling smartphone business.

The outburst was triggered by a legal agreement between Microsoft and Samsung forcing the Korean firm to pay Microsoft $5 for every smartphone it sells running Google’s supposedly free software.

FAST FACTS | AUTONOMY

● HP’s bid for Autonomy will make Lynch an overnight billionaire. It offered a 79 per cent premium to Autonomy’s pre bid closing price.

● Autonomy specialises in data search technology used by businesses and governments.