To me—and I'm paid to know these things, of course—it was as glaringly obvious as spaghetti sauce on a new white shirt: there was just no way in heaven or hell that Hewlett-Packard, the $125-billion global IT colossus with the currently chafed reputation, was going to let itself be outdone by second-tier Dell in a very public bidding war for a promising storage company.
No way. Not possible. Not in this lifetime. Not on this planet.
And I was going to tell Dell: nice try, good show, well played and all that, but time to lick your wounds and go pick on somebody your own size because in this one, it's all going to come down to the size of the dog in the fight and not the size of the fight in the dog.
Because, I was going to sagely advise the scrappy folks at Dell, Enron will be resurrected as a Wall Street watchdog before HP lets you have 3Par.
I was all set to write about how Dell didn't come away with 3Par, it could take credit for a moral victory in showing its pluckiness and in showcasing to the world that its acquisition strategy is alive and well and that Dell fully intends to compete aggressively with the big boys for the broad enterprise infrastructure deals of the future.
I had visions of snappy headlines floating in my head: "HP Squashes Dell's Upset Bid" or "HP Asserts Alpha-Male Superiority Over Dell" or "As Warning To IT Industry, HP Flexes Financial Muscles."
I was going to talk about how 3Par would fit into HP's converged infrastructure strategy and give it further breadth for the competitive requirements of the future, and how the acquisition would quiet many of the critics who've been saying that HP's fallen behind the leaders in storage technology.
That's particularly significant as advanced storage technologies are taking on greater significance because customers are aggressively transforming more and more of their operations into digitally based global enterprises and converting their warehouses of paper records and film records to blindingly fast and easy to manage and relatively inexpensive digital storage.
And all of that, I was prepared to say, plays perfectly into HP's hand because 3Par has the know-how to help HP deliver those types of solutions.
As more and more businesses strive to operate and compete in the real-time world, they'll need IT infrastructure designed for that dynamic type of exchange rather than the more-passive store-and-hold designs of the past—and yet again, I was prepared to say, HP will come out even stronger because 3Par will help it deliver that.
But just as I was about to commit all that dazzling insight to paper (well, to electrons) and share it with the the business-technology world, a very funny thing happened: