OpenMPE moves beyond HP efforts
3000 resources held by HP's IP division

HP Development Company signals HP exit

During a briefing with the OpenMPE board yesterday, chairman Birket Foster noted that the former e3000 business manager Jennie Hou is now working at HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers group. Ross McDonald, Hou's supervisor while at the 3000 division, is reported to be at work on technical projects for HP's Unix servers. Much of the 3000 community at HP has moved away to other parts of HP. This exodus, sparked by the flame-out of 3000-style products at Hewlett-Packard, was kindled by the relatively-new HP Development Company L.P., organized to wrest maximum value from the property rights of HP products.

HPDC is a very different HP from the company you may have known over the past three decades. Changes to any business are inevitable over as many years as Hewlett-Packard has operated. The rate of change and depth of difference can vary, however. The differences represented by HPDC what the migrating 3000 customers, staying with HP on new platforms, must accept and embrace. If a business cannot manage $100 million in revenues per quarter, HPDC can't find a place for it.

And for the homesteaders, that sound you heard this quarter starting with the final HP advisory on the 3000? It was the footsteps of HP, the Hewlett-Packard you knew when you bought your first HP 3000. And like Elvis ending a night of songs, HP was leaving the 3000 building. When HP’s labs finally shut out the MPE lights, some of HP’s last friends of the computer had to leave the vendor’s tough bouncers guarding the door. HPDC now has its hand on the spigot of software for the community.

If you don’t know HPDC, don’t feel left out. This strong arm of HP prefers to remain out of the spotlight, even though every HP top executive carries a job title with the company name attached. It’s a group that polices the intellectual property of Hewlett-Packard. Whatever HP created anywhere, anytime — even the software the vendor improved but did not create — it all carries a price now.

Everyone is entitled to ask to be paid for what they create. In these tough economic days intellectual property, the other IP, is under siege in the markets. Information wants to be free, a mantra that makes more sense when there’s less vendor effort to maintain programs. Software costs pennies on the dollar, compared to the prices vendors collected back when Elvis had already been in his grave for two decades.

It’s now more than three decades since The King shuffled off to a higher jam session, but HP expects no low notes on the IP that it says it controls. Jazz, that rich double-album of software gathered or created by HP’s labs, now falls into the hands of HPDC. That’s why there’s a re-hosting license that HP expects community members to negotiate. No sharing, unless HP approves. HPDC is in charge of keeping the leash tight on every software pup the vendor created.

The reach of HPDC pinned down the sharing of HP's IP in source code as well as freeware created for the 3000 customer. Tomorrow we'll have a look at the impact on the Jazz programs' license program for re-hosting third parties.