HP plans to gradually retire its management software OpenView and newly acquired Mercury brands in favour of a unified HP Software brand with a single business technology optimisation (BTO) categorisation.

"You should see the Mercury and OpenView brands fade away over time," said Tom Hogan, senior vice president of software at HP, having officially closed its $4.5 billion (£) purchase of IT systems management software and services vendor Mercury Interactive.

HP plans to retain most of the existing individual product names under the planned HP Software BTO umbrella, including Mercury's Systinet and LoadRunner, he added.

HP defines BTO as a way for users to better understand the impact of IT on their operations and to use technology to improve their business processes.

The Mercury acquisition gives HP much more of a presence in application management, along with application delivery and performance and IT and service oriented architecture (SOA) governance.

"There's a minimal area of overlap in the application management space," Hogan said. "We'll take the best of our technology and the best of theirs [Mercury's] and bring them together,” Hogan said.

Yesterday 3,000 Mercury staff became HP employees. But it does not plan to do anything to disrupt Mercury's operations during Mercury's fourth fiscal quarter, which closes at the end of the year.

Hogan said early next year, in January or February, HP will announce some "extremely modest" redundancies in support and back-office operations with likely layoffs involving a handful of former Mercury staff.

The Mercury addition signals HP's commitment to its software business as a whole and to chairman and chief executive Mark Hurd's vision of HP's role in providing software and services to CIOs.

Mercury has about 14,000 customers, while HP OpenView has about 15,000 users. Hogan said the overlap of Mercury and HP OpenView customers is "fairly high," due to many enterprises previously adopting Mercury's performance and quality testing software. HP hopes to continue Mercury's existing OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partnerships and looks to extend those relationships, he added.

HP's competitors in the management software space include IBM's Tivoli offerings and CA's Unicenter products.

IBM wasted no time trying to lure away HP and Mercury customers, launching software migration programs Tuesday offering those users a maximum 25% discount to move over to its Tivoli software and its Rational developer tools.