HP/Compaq: No nasty surprises for users as merged company launches

A fully merged Hewlett-Packard and Compaq organisation has been formally launched amid a flurry of details on product and service...

A fully merged Hewlett-Packard and Compaq organisation has been formally launched amid a flurry of details on product and service strategies, customer support, sales force integration and management structure.

Details are fleshed out on a fully integrated Web site featuring more than three million pages, detailed product maps and more than 10,000 products from both HP and Compaq.

In launching the new company, to be known as HP, chairwoman Carly Fiorina and chief executive officer Michael Capellas said that much of the integration planning had already been completed and has been put in motion.

Three levels of management have been put in place across the merged organisation, new account management teams are already in place for HP's top 100 or so customers, and the entire sale force has been given guidance on how to operate under the new company, she said.

"We are ready," Fiorina said. "We are executing on our decisions, as opposed to making them. We are delivering on our commitment."

She said the merger with Compaq would give HP the technology portfolio and the scale to compete better in a slowing market.

"This is an industry that is characterised by slower growth. It will consolidate, and HP is leading that consolidation," Fiorina said.

There were no unpleasant surprises for users on the product front.

At the high end, the merged HP for the most part will continue with products from both companies in the short term. But during the next three years, HP plans to standardise and eventually migrate users to common platforms where it makes sense.

HP will continue supporting and developing Compaq's Himalaya fault-tolerant systems, Alpha servers and OpenVMS platform. There will be at least two more generations of Alpha-based systems, and HP will continue selling Alpha servers through to 2006.

On the Unix server front, HP, as was widely expected, will standardise on the HP-UX Unix flavour. But it will integrate key technologies such as clustering and file systems from Compaq Tru64 Unix during the next three years. HP will continue to sell Tru64 on AlphaServers to 2006.

All high-end hardware will eventually be migrated to a common architecture based on Intel's 64-bit Itanium technology. But HP will leave it up to users to choose when they want to make the move to the Intel architecture.

On the Intel server front, HP has standardised around Compaq's ProLiant brand name rather than its own NetServer systems. Similarly, HP will use Compaq's iPaq brand of handhelds and will phase out its own Jornada systems in the next few months. It will also sell commercial Intel PCs under the Compaq brand.

HP and Compaq blade servers will co-exist, as will consumer Intel desktops from both companies.

There were no surprises on the storage front either, with HP selling its own storage products on the high end, while using Compaq's storage technologies in the low-end and midrange markets.

On the services side, HP will focus on customer support outsourcing, consulting and systems integration services, Capellas said. Specific areas of specialisation within these broad categories include interoperability support, enterprise Microsoft technologies, wireless and mobile applications, as well as infrastructure and storage management services.

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