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NewsForge: Open Source May Help Save HP-Compaq Deal

May 09, 2002, 11:00 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jack Bryar)

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"As HP and Compaq struggle to make their unlikely merger work, there's a lot riding on the deal for both HP's CEO, Carly Fiorina and her new "subordinate," President Mike Capellas. Both have a lot invested on how the deal plays out, and it is not entirely clear who will run the company a year from now. One essential factor may be whether Capellas' advocacy of Open Source helps save HP's computer business.

"Some commentators suggested that the HP/Compaq merger project "Abelard" was well named. Before this deal, the most famous Abelard in history was a medieval French monk, forcibly castrated by a mob after having sex with Heloise, one of his students. It hasn't got quite that rough in the boardroom, but the mob may not be through with Fiorina quite yet. At every level, the merged company's CEO is being challenged by her subordinates, her investors, and her financiers.

"One of the most striking details of the merger is the extent to which Compaq, supposedly the junior partner in the deal, seems to be coming out on top as the deal is executed. Headed for the boneyard is HP's NetServer line. The 'New HP' will adopt Compaq's Proliant servers, running the client's choice of Windows, Linux, or bare bones. HP will also dump its Journada line of PDAs in favor of the iPAQ. Capellas said aloud what many observers thought when he announced, in advance of the official HP announcement, 'You are what you eat. The New HP in many ways will resemble the old Compaq...'"

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