HP, Compaq: Lights, Camera—Acquisition!

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2002-02-18

The Olympic Village in Salt Lake City may not be the only place in Utah where people are making newsworthy leaps. El Gato has heard rumblings that a few of the top players at Novell, in Provo, might be planning some big jumps, too. Over the last year, the Kitty has fielded and dismissed similar rumors, but this time the word seems perfectly clear that some key operators may be in the chute and ready to soar.

When El Gato said in his Feb. 4 column that although the battle over HPs proposed acquisition of Compaq was turning into a multimedia event, he joked that "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." How wrong his Hirsuteness was.

An in-house HP memo recently posted on the Internet claims that the company was looking for employees who wholeheartedly support the acquisition to appear in upcoming television and radio spots aimed at influencing stockholders to vote yes on the acquisition. "Well, even if the acquisition falls flat," quipped the Kitty, "Carly may be able to topple Howard Sterns reign and proclaim herself Queen of All Media."

As our nation seems to be gearing up to increase its defense budget, the Microsoft-Naptheon partnership to rebuild the internal infrastructure of the shipbuilding process at Newport News in Virginia would appear to be a win-win situation for Bill Gates. Naptheon, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Newport News Shipbuilding, has been touted widely for using the Microsoft .Net platform and Visual Studio .Net to develop an application called ShipRepair.Net.

The recent .Net-Naptheon hype reminded the Kitty of a tidbit that appeared in his Feb. 28, 2000, Kattoon, which showed that Gates had purchased an 8 percent stake in Newport News, making Bill one of the shipyards top two stockholders. A tipster claims that NNS recent acquisition by Northrup Grumman, a Los Angeles-based defense company, may be the only fly in the ointment in this seemingly perfect marriage.

The tattler claims that the current status of the project may be apparent by its January 2002 implementation due date that is quietly being pushed up to May.

The Puss pondered the meaning of the RSA security conference being held in San Francisco, rather than San Jose, as usual— especially, when the biggest security vendor in the valley, Network Associates, whose headquarters are just miles from the new venue, has decided not to exhibit this year. Me-ouch!

Spencer F. Katt can be reached at spencer_katt@ziffdavis.com.

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