HP-Compaq: State of Confusion
The most appropriate icon for the proposed combination of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq might well be the Hindu god Shiva, multiarmed symbol of destruction and rebirth.The most appropriate icon for the proposed combination of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq might well be the Hindu god Shiva, multiarmed symbol of destruction and rebirth. With nearly parallel product lines, a combined HP-Compaq holds out in its many hands a potentially confusing variety of choices for enterprise IT buyerswho fear confusion almost as much as they fear the reaction of market competition. HP and Compaq executives are clearly frustrated by the focus on personal computing products in most discussions of this deal. OK, well focus on high-end servers instead. Its the speed and capacity of servers and storage systemsnot to mention their reliability, security and manageabilitythat enable new capabilities on public and internal networks. Thats where the growth and profit margins are likely to be found in the next wave of IT spending and where technical superiority can still be achieved outside the Wintel commodity umbrella.
Server strategies at HP and Compaq were already at critical junctures, even before the proposed merger. Both were migrating from established 64-bit processors (PA-RISC, Alpha and MIPS) to Intels unproven Itanium. HP must also manage inherited customers on Compaqs Tru64 Unix, OpenVMS and NonStop, as well as on its own HP-UX operating system.