"What role will Linux play? The official merger
announcement made several references to consolidating on Intel's
Itanium architecture and on 'open, market-unifying architectures
and interoperability,' which may refer to Linux.
Or it may not.
Both companies do a fair Windows business. As far back as 1999,
both Compaq and HP had announced support for Linux as an operating
systems alternative. While both Compaq and HP continue to support
the Linux operating system, neither has been able to make a
convincing break from their old proprietary Unix systems. Compaq,
in particular, has continued to pitch both Linux and its
proprietary version of Unix. In addition, the company has made a
powerful effort to pitch itself as the third member of the Wintel
duopoly. To a great extent, that effort has succeeded. A
disproportionate number of the first large corporate adapters
deploying Windows 2000 as a back-end solution hung that operating
system on Compaq Proliant servers.
While HP has made much of its Linux initiatives and championed
the deployment of Linux-based infrastructure solutions, the newly
combined server, storage and "infrastructure" division will be
headed by a Compaq executive, Peter Blackmore. As Compaq's v.p. of
sales and services, Blackmore may understand the operational logic
of using Linux to tie the company's business units together.
However, he can also count, and today the bulk of Compaq's cash
comes from its Microsoft-related business."