If you’re the kind of person who enjoys spending time sifting through tech company press releases (and who doesn’t, right?) you might have noticed something strange in an otherwise routine release from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise last week.
In discussing the long-planned spin-off of parts of its software business, scheduled for later this month, HPE referred to the future entity as “Seattle SpinCo, Inc., which will hold HPE’s software business (‘Seattle’).” A reference to the Pacific Northwest by the Bay Area tech industry’s seminal company certainly caught some of us off guard; is there a chance HPE plans to locate the business in Cloud City?
Not exactly. When asked, an HPE representative said the language was “simply a placeholder name for legal documents,” noting that when HPE spun off its services division earlier this year to create a new company called DNC Technology, it used “Everett” as the placeholder for that transaction, referring to the city to the north.
HPE is hoping that paring down its “non-core” software portfolio by spinning off many of the products it acquired in the notorious Autonomy deal will allow it to focus on cloud and data center software. “Seattle SpinCo” will be a combination of products and services from HPE and Micro Focus, which is based in the U.K.
Even if it’s just a placeholder name, some Seattle thinking is probably a good strategy for HPE, which has watched cloud companies like Amazon Web Services take over the enterprise computing markets it used to own with servers and software for data centers. A Seattle-based attempt to compete with AWS via Helion, a unit of the company led by Seattle’s Bill Hilf that tried to sell public cloud services based on OpenStack, failed rather quickly and was shut down in 2016.
It’s hard to see the folks from Palo Alto making it through the first winter.