Mike Lynch certainly isn’t taking HP’s accusations lying down. And he has a point: the idea that it’s taken HP this long to spot the supposed issues is frankly ludicrous, as what it’s accusing Autonomy of is the kind of blatant fiddling that would have been spotted in days.
It would also represent possibly the biggest failure of due diligence in history, both for HP itself and for the banks and accountants that went through Autonomy’s books. I don’t believe that this would have been missed.
My gut feeling: Whitman realised she needed to take a massive writedown on Autonomy (it was overpriced, but that’s not the seller’s fault). Given that HP had a very bad quarter across the board for sales, she’s thrown out the possibility of shady dealings as a way of distracting attention.
Saying “We had bad sales, but the big losses are because we were the victims of fraud” sounds a whole lot better than “We had bad sales, AND made one of the worst deals in technology history.”