"As a result of its recently concluded merger with Compaq,
Hewlett-Packard is now the largest Microsoft customer in the world.
More than a few wags in the GNU/Linux and open source worlds have
begun to wonder what effect the merger would have on how HP copes
with the revolution. Coupled with the recent departure of Bruce
Perens from HP, it has become an even more urgent question. To help
dispel the seeds of doubt and worry, I asked for a little telephone
time with Martin Fink to discuss the issues. Fink is not only the
man who hired Perens for HP, he is HPs vice president and CTO of
Business Critical Systems.
"I visited with Fink last week and the first question out of my
mouth was exactly that: how has the merger and the departure of
Perens changed HP's Linux strategy. Fink responded by first
outlining the pre-merger strategy at both HP and Compaq. At HP,
there was a focus on industry-standard 32-bit and 64-bit Intel
platforms as well as their own manageability and high-availability
efforts. HP was not a leader in the 32-bit realm but has been on
Itanium. At Compaq, the Proliant line gave them a leadership
position the world of 32-bit boxes. Fink said the Linux portion of
the Proliant sales is "delivering $1 billion of business," adding
"it represents 15 percent of the overall Proliant business." He
said HP estimates that the Linux share will rise to 20 percent in
the next 12 to 18 months..."
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