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HP customers join forces to create united group post-Compaq merger

James Rogers
The UK's Hewlett-Packard user groups, HP/Works User Group and the HP Compaq User Organisation, have joined forces to create a new, more powerful organisation.

John Owen, co-chairman of the new HP User Group, said, "We are a large, unified organisation now, and we will be able to speak with one voice - rather than diverse small voices."

Owen, who is also head of IT facilities management at Birmingham University, said the new organisation's members are already keen to lobby HP on several issues.

"We are pushing for more integration of some of the excellent features of Compaq Unix with HP-UX - such as clustering and storage management," he said.

Owen added that users from a Compaq background are keen to ensure that HP continues its long-term commitment to the Open VMS operating system.

However, Owen said users are now in a stable position following the merger between Compaq and HP last year. "The roadmaps for the HP and Compaq products have been clarified," he said.

The new user organisation, which has about 1,500 members, is also embarking on a recruitment drive to reach its membership target of 5,000.

This will involve working closely with both HP and its resellers, according to Owen.

"We are looking at initiatives such as bundling user group membership with reseller equipment sales," he said.

The HP User Group already has a full diary of future events, which include a fibre channel masterclass and a seminar on broadband for the small business user and home users.

Owen said, "Most of our training sessions and workshops are free to members and we are holding about one every fortnight."

"For an IT manager like me it is an excellent, cost-effective way of getting my staff trained," he added.

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