In spring of 2010, HP purchased 3Com for $2.7 billion to bolster its networking business, and later it bought Palm for $1.2 billion to sell handsets and leverage its webOS platform. In the summer, the company bought Fortify a software security company that helps users connect to mobile devices using a firewall. That fall, the company paid $2.35 billion for 3Par's storage capabilities and $1.5 billion for ArcSight in a push to security services.

Fidacaro expects that building on previous acquisitions, HP will build its services business organically through hiring and other expense. For software, he sees companies like open-source software maker Red Hat ( RHT), data integration-software maker Informatica ( INFA), process-management specialist Tibco Software ( TIBX) and data warehouse Teradata ( TDC) as companies HP may shop for as it builds the software component of its remake.

In an email Wednesday afternoon, HP spokesperson Randi Polanich said, "HP does not comment or speculate on future acquisition plans and we are focused on Autonomy right now."

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