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By | John Oates 23rd September 2009 14:22

HP tosses EDS brand

Outsourcing giant outsources name

Ross Perot's original IT services firm EDS has ceased to be.

The brand name disappeared today after the company was bought by HP in May 2008 for $13.9bn. Visitors to EDS.com will find themselves redirected to HP Enterprise Services.

HP said the move was "the next major step in a year-long integration of EDS into HP." The company said its enterprise business brings in 47 per cent of revenue and 60 per cent of group operating profit.

In recent years the company has been most famous, or infamous, for massive government projects/disasters. A row with the US Navy almost sank the firm in 2004.

The giant outsourcer began life in 1962 thanks to a $1,000 loan and has mirrored the ups and downs of the IT industry ever since. In the mid-80s it was bought by General Motors. The idea - a kind of reverse outsourcing - was to help the car maker make better use of its existing technology and save costs. Perot quickly fell out with the management and left GM's board in 1986.

By the mid-90s General Motors decided it would get better value from reversing this strategy and span EDS out as an independent company, leading a generation of similar moves. GM remained one of its biggest customers.

One-time presidential candidate Ross Perot was always famous for his military and intelligence links. This came to the fore in 1979 when he set out to rescue two of his staff who were banged up in an Iranian prison.

After appeals to the US and Iranian governments failed, Perot hired an ex-Green Beret to run a rescue mission using mercenaries and existing EDS staff. Operation Hotfoot (Help Our Two Friends Out Of Tehran) successfully broke the two out of jail and spirited them over the Turkish border.

Ken Follett wrote an account called On Wings of Eagles. ®

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