Which Is More Tiresome: HP/Compaq or Microsoft/DOJ?

eNews and Views: We follow every twist and turn in these epic sagas because news doesn't get much bigger than this.

Over the past several years, readers have criticized eWEEK, formerly PC Week, for spending too much time and energy covering the Microsoft antitrust litigation. The collective attitude seems to be, "Dont tell us any more until theres a decision."

In recent weeks Ive heard the same argument for our coverage of Hewlett Packards proposed buyout of Compaq.

We understand the frustration of having to sift through the sometimes-tedious facts of a trial or acquisition and wading through the legal maneuverings of the opposing sides. But we also understand that we have no other choice. Its news.

Not covering, for example, the events of the Microsoft antitrust case (which resumes again Monday—check eWEEK.com for daily updates) would be the equivalent of burying ones head in the sand.

And in the case of HPs proposed buyout of Compaq, not covering the daily and weekly events of that situation would be even more detrimental. Thats because the deal hinges on HP shareholders approval, (the shareholder vote is due Tuesday—check eWEEK.com for on-the-scene coverage). Both companies, as well as the deals chief opponent, Walter Hewlett, have been working diligently to get their respective messages out to the public.

In Tuesdays Business Day section of the New York Times, for example, HP, Walter Hewlett and Compaq each took out full-page ads voicing their concerns, making claims and countering others. Lets face it: Its a nasty battle, with HP board members propping themselves up as experts on the founders attitudes, while the founders own children are against the buyout; where every claim made by either party is followed immediately by a counterclaim by the other party; where the mighty PC and server king, Compaq, is reduced to a seemingly subservient role on the sidelines with little to say—possibly an indicator of things to come.

If thats not intriguing stuff, I dont know what is. But I do know the alternative to not covering these lengthy, at times time-consuming stories, is much, much worse.

Dont bury your head in the sand. Its a cold, dark place.

E-mail eWEEK Executive Editor of News Michael R. Zimmerman