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HP, Compaq Deal Approved 251

EyesWideOpen writes "The merger between Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. (originally reported in this Slashdot story) is now official according to eWeek as well as From the eWeek article:'Hewlett-Packard Co. today announced that it will complete its $19 billion buyout of Compaq Computer Corp. and that the merged companies will formally launch as the new HP on May 7.'For you investors out there, HP will begin trading under the new symbol HPQ on Monday." A message to the Interesting People list gives some insight into the shareholder voting procedure.
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HP, Compaq Deal Approved

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  • by quark2universe ( 38132 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:40AM (#3457137) Homepage
    HPQ, what does that stand for, Hewlett-Paqard?

    • Old stock symbols:
      • HWP - Hewlett Packard
      • CPQ - Compaq
      They just merged the two old symbols to create a new (unused and unique) symbol on the stock exchange to represent the post-merger Hewlett-Packard.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:00AM (#3457254)
      When Compaq bought out DEC, they made a big deal out of their name, saying that the "Q" in Compaq
      stood for Quality. Yes, the DEC folks snickered at that, and still are.

      Evidently, Carly and Curly decided to do a tip of the hat to Compaq and change the symbol, probably to deliberately piss off the old guard at HWP so as to incite them to riot^H^H^H^H leave. Just one
      more example of [t]he[i]r arrogance.

      But, one thing hasn't changed - the 'Q' comes last! Maybe as an afterthought...

      Anyone who's bought a Compaq PC knows it, right?

      I'm an old DECcie, and have respect for my opposite numbers at HWP, and certainly feel badly for them that they've been saddled with the CPQ albatross. Let's hope that HPQ's PC division really shows its true colors (as it has by losing several million dollars a month for the last year or two), and maybe we can shuck it and Carly and Curly, and tell Master Gill Bates and the rest of the Wintel Weenies to fuck off, and then we can make some real money building real systems with real operating systems without bowing to Redmond six times a day.
    • Re:New stock symbol (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:02AM (#3457272) Homepage Journal
      The stock symbol "HP" belongs to some mining company. This has been a source of confusion for a generation or so.


  • Would this make them the largest supporter of Linux?? Or is that still IBM? It will be a good thing for Linux anyway.
  • Naahh (Score:4, Funny)

    by brokenspoke ( 569526 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:45AM (#3457163)
    Not it's not tis: Hardly Passable Quality
    • Why do HP's boxes get such a bad name? I bought my Athlon 750 box from them a couple of years ago, and I've never had a problem with it, even during the addition of more memory, another hard disk, the removal of the CD burner, installation of Linux, etc. And Customer Service handled things quite well when they fscked up my order (they upgraded shipping to next-day saturday delivery so it would only arrive one day later than they told me it would). Am I the only one?

      (disclaimer: to my knowledge, I was the only satisfied customer of Tower Air before they folded :) )
      • Re:Naahh (Score:3, Interesting)

        by swb ( 14022 )
        We've bought a couple of batches of HP desktops here and they've been no worse or better than any other desktops (Compaqs, Dells).

        We've bought nothing but HP x86 servers here and have yet to disappointed by quality or workmanship standards. Even the documentation feels like it has links to the olden days when you actually got *good* documentation.

        The few Dell servers I've seen seem pretty cheap. They have been low-end boxes, but there's a flimsyness about them that makes them feel like desktop boxes with server nameplates.
  • Ridiculous (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Another ill-thought out merger between two unsuitable companies.

    Over the past year, we've seen so much god-awful M&A activity - think Vivendi-U or, even worse, AOLTW - none of which adds any value to the resulting company.

    HP-Compaq is just going to become even more unwieldy and over-managed. Synergies from merging two entities together, as we've seen from AOL-TW, are pretty hard to come by, and certtainly not worth all the pain...
    • I think this merger is best described as a head-on train wreck in slow motion. At least they're coming together.
    • Over the past year, we've seen so much god-awful M&A activity - think Vivendi-U or, even worse, AOLTW - none of which adds any value to the resulting company.

      And if you think of it from the consumer's perspective, the resulting companies are usually worse. Which begs the question -- why merge in the first place? I don't think I've ever really figured this one out; the only things mergers are good at as far as the average tech consumer is concerned are expanding monopolies *ahem*AOLTW and reducing product quality. They may be good in the short term for the companies involved, but they're inevitably bad for the consumer, and this in turn results in a long-term loss for all companies involved.
  • HP-aq?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbvb ( 32836 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:47AM (#3457177) Journal
    OK, now for the Big Questions (tm) regarding this merger...

    The desktop business isn't interesting. Neither are the handhelds, or the printer business.

    What _IS_ interesting is the Big Iron stuff...

    What happens to the PA-RISC stuff? All the HP-UX boxes? Superdome?

    How about the AlphaServers? The GS160's? The Wildfire clusters?


    Himalaya NonStop? Where does _that_ stuff go?

    HP's got a history of taking stuff down the cul-de-sac and strangling it in favor of their own products (look up Apollo if you're curious)...

    So what happens to all the great technologies that Compaq's bought over the years??

    I hope they keep it alive. There's nothing (and I mean NOTHING) that clusters like OVMS. Transaction processing runs like a top on the Himalaya. SuperDome's got some neat functions too.

    This is where the interesting stuff to this merger is going to be. Who cares about the desktop business? :-)
    • Re:HP-aq?! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hanul ( 533254 )
      The desktop business is interesting, and the printer business is where the BIG money comes in, especially printer ink supply.

      PA-RISC is going to put to rest. 8900 will be the last PA-RISC CPU (currently it's 8700), then Itanium will take over completely. Same will happen to Alpha.

      There are some contracts to fulfill regarding VMS, but that does not mean there will be an emphasis on this OS. True64Unix will be phased out in favor of HP-UX, which MAY be replaced by Linux sometime in the future.

      The Compaq brands that will go on are the Intel stuff (ProLiants, notebooks) and handhelds. How the PCs are branded is unclear.
      • Re:HP-aq?! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 4of12 ( 97621 )

        ...then Itanium will take over completely. Same will happen to Alpha.

        If I were one of the HP engineers working on PA-RISC, it would be a bitter blow to concede defeat to Itanium while PA-RISC currently trounces it. (I know, I know, some HP people worked on Merced, too. But PA-RISC seems like a better product right now and for the foreseeable future.)

        Likewise, anyone at Compaq (DEC) that puts together Alpha servers has got to know that they beat Itanium to pieces. Might as well throw in the towel before the EV8 sees the light of day.

        I guess there's consistency between the two companies on their willingness to concede defeat to Intel in their 64 bit RISC lines.

        • Re:HP-aq?! (Score:2, Informative)

          All the Alpha engineeers were transfered to Intel last Summer to work on future Itanics. At least the ones that didn't quit out of digust (very few, according to usenet scuttlebut).
    • Re:HP-aq?! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What happens to the PA-RISC stuff? All the HP-UX boxes? Superdome?

      HP announced the end of PA-RISC before the merger announcements. It seemed at the time (though I do not recall any official announcement) that the intent was to port HP-UX to Itanium. Folks might note: HP-UX is the oldest commercial Unix on the market. They licensed Unix from Bell Labs back in the days when they still were called Bell Labs. HP has also announced the end of the 3000 line: good bye MPE/iX. Perhaps an equally interesting question is: where does OSF/1, aka Digital Unix, aka Tru64 go?

      How about the AlphaServers? The GS160's? The Wildfire clusters? OpenVMS?

      Compaq's well known plan was to port VMS to Itanium. With VMS shipping on 1G Alpha GS320s at this time there seems to be plenty of life in the high end servers running Alpha VMS, along with a "roadmap" to move to high end commodity hardware eventually.

      Himalaya NonStop? Where does _that_ stuff go?

      This is an intersting one. Compaq had announced the plan to port Himalaya from MIPS to Alpha, but I don't think that was ever accomplished. One might only guess that they'd target Itanium for an eventual port. That market moves very slowly and carefully though.

      • Re:HP-aq?! (Score:2, Informative)

        by Hanul ( 533254 )
        >It seemed at the time (though I do not recall any official announcement) that the intent was to port HP-UX to Itanium You can buy Itanium-based systems pre-loaded with HP-UX 11.20 (on Itanium aka Merced) and 11.22 (on Itanium2 aka McKinley) from HP. Just visit the online shop.
        • Having used HPUX 11.20 on a Merced HP server, i was fairly impressed. It is pretty darn fast, although I didn't have a very recent PARISC HPUX machine to compare it to directly.

          so even though I don't agree with dumping PARISC for itaniums, the transistion should be about as painless as possible.

          the cool thing is you can get an itanium server, and run HPUX, linux, or 'doze on it all the same. That has to do something for the bottom line, and make it cheaper to produce.

          PA-RISC was a damn fine platform, though. I will miss it for sure. Luckily, it's legacy will be around for years to come until all the older HP servers are obsoleted... which will be a while as they do their job just fine.

    • Re:HP-aq?! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:09AM (#3457303) Homepage Journal
      I think the intel IA-64, a direct descendant of PA-RISC, will take over at the high end.

      Regarding the other operating systems, I'm fortunate that I only have to worry about the Free Software ones. I do know that HP-UX will be around for a long time.


    • As far as Alpha goes, there are a lot of pretty influential people within Compaq that are real big fans of Alpha and Tru64. Matter of fact, if you've ever been in the bowels of Compaqs datacenters, you'll see (or at least you would about a year ago) large patches of Digital blue. The fact that Tru64 and the Alpha are still around is mostly due to the tireless efforts of these kinds of people within Compaq (as well as those who were using Digital Unix before the Digital merger) but I've got the feeling that they're going to run up against the wall, if they haven't already. While I wish them well in keeping the Alpha and Tru64 around, I have the sinking feeling I should rather wish them well in the job search. Enron dying was bad enough for Houston. The jobs that HPaq is going to shed as a result of all this are going to really put it down for the count.

      And I wish HP-UX would die as a result of this, but there isn't a chance in hell of that happening, realistically. Gods, I hate HP-UX.
      • what do you hate so much about HPUX? I like it quite a bit compared to other unixes. And please don't tell me that linux is better... if you say that, then you obviously have no idea what application HPUX is meant for.

        I am not trolling, but I find HPUX nice and easy to work with, and the hardware is well done.

        I suspect if you hate HPUX, it is because it is different to you, but you really should get to know it.

    • The desktop business isn't interesting. Neither are the handhelds, or the printer business.

      What _IS_ interesting is the Big Iron stuff...

      Considering that Dell's market cap is now triple that of Sun's, I'm not so sure that's the case.

      It's worth noting, though, that of all the people now at HPQ from the combined companies, there's apparently not a single one who knows how to design an attracive laptop.
    • From what some engineers at HP told me, the Itanium is pretty much a drop-in replacement for the PA-RISC processor. I brought this up at an HPOV class I was attending and was told that the Itanium is pretty much binary compatible with the PA-RISC.

      HP is a *big* seller of Unix in certain (non-ISP) markets. They are bigger than Sun in the Enterprise markets. They dwarf Compaq's Tru64, so I expect that product to be silently killed off
    • Re:HP-aq?! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tfb ( 49770 )
      I think they've finally blown all their feet off. The big machines are certainly the interesting bit, but their products are now even more of a tangled mess than they were before.

      The combined company has (among others):
      • Alpha and alpha-based machines. Alpha is officially dead. Tru64 presumably will die with it. Anyway people won't buy too many of these boxes. OpenVMS also runs here, but this also must be of only legacy interest by now.
      • PA-RISC and the HP-UX machines based on it. PA-RISC is also rumoured to be dead, although it's taking a while to go away.
      • Big x86 boxes from both companies, running Windows.
      • Itanium, which is meant to replace all of these. Except, that, oh dear, it doesn't really exist yet: it's horribly, horribly late (4 years plus), and no-one really knows if it will succeed, especially after everyone else has eaten the big-64bit-commerical-machine market.
      • (Oh, and they also have nicely overlapping desktop and laptop ranges too at the low-end.)

      So what are they going to try and sell you? They have *three* processor families, all officially to be replaced by something that doesn't work yet, two Unices, VMS, Windows, and maybe Linux. On top of this they need to unify the groups of people making these things, including finishing the digestion of DEC.

      This is just horrible. If you go to Sun, you know they're going to sell you a big SPARC box running Solaris. If you go to IBM you know they wrote the book on big machines and reliability. If you go to HPaq, it's probably going to be because you want a printer or a commodity PC, because the rest of their range is just completely confused.
  • 'Bout time to retire that Digital topic, don't you think?

    Or, are you keeping it around for nostalgia stories like this one []?

  • I really don't see the point of this, for either side. Compaq was doing ok (although they were laying people off) and HP was doing ok (I don't remember, were they laying people off?) Then they go and do this, it's Sure! to lay people off.

    So they are going to be the second largest computer manufacturer in the United States (my assumption, someone find out if you would so kindly), that still doesn't make it a very profitable deal. HP may gain some insite into 64 bit because of what Compaq has, and may gain a new base of operations in Houston, but HP was doing ok as a company themselves, serving low, medium and High end servers as well as desktops.
    • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:02AM (#3457273) Homepage
      Then they go and do this, it's Sure! to lay people off.

      Mergers pretty much always result in layoffs, since you end up with a lot of duplicate departments (HR, marketing, sales, some of the technical groups, etc.). Sure, the resulting company is bigger so you (maybe) need more people in each of those departments, but not as many as the sum of the two pre-merger companies.

      Compaq went for the deal because it was effectively a bailout for their stockholders. H-P went for the deal because...hmm, that one's tougher, which is why the vote was so close.

      Nominally it was to gain Compaq's foothold in the PC market, where H-P has been losing share. Why anyone would want to pay good money for such a position in a market that is slowing and rapidly commoditizing itself is another question.
      • That is one valuable thing is that if they can combine forces with Compaq, they can put themselves in a better position in the commodotized market of PC's. The problem with a commoditized market is that margins are razor thing so you have to be able to produce in vast quantities to make any money. There is still good money there, but only for the biggest players. Seperately they might not have the power to survive in the market, but together they stand a better chance.

        Sure the growth rate in PC's is slowing, but it's still growing at least and there will always be demand for upgrading of old systems, etc. It stands to be a cash cow for many years to come but only if you are a big player or a niche player (game machines, etc).

        Also, in this deal, think about hand helds which is definitely a fast growing market. The two leading manufacturers (I think they are leading, but correct me if I'm wrong) of WinCE devices are becoming one. That's certainly putting them in a better position in that market.
  • fu fiorina (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unk1911 ( 250141 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:48AM (#3457186) Homepage
    thanks fiorina. now that you've screwed up lucent, let's screw hp. my poor friend may be out of a job as a result of this merger?
  • by AVee ( 557523 ) <slashdot AT avee DOT org> on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:48AM (#3457192) Homepage competitor less.
  • Well this surely will mean that ppl will lose their jobs seing that they've already setup the number of managers and VP's they have.

    From what I hear this is gonna take place over the next year and we really won't see much in terms of action till a couple of months from now. They need to have a plan of action.

    Lets just hope they do this in a smart way that way they don't screw to many ppl over. And lets hope that the AOL - TW merge was a lession in what NOT to do. If a particular "thing" works in in area and not in others, don't try to change it to make everyone conform =)

    Compaq makes good servers, lets keep it that way!
  • isnt this just nice...
    two companies merging;
    overlapping jobs;
    company "restructuring" (ie, layoffs);
    less jobs out there;

    for me, recently graduated with an computer engineering degree, this isnt good at all....
  • I don't know that I have read any reason as to why these two are merging to begin with; although there is this story [] that may clarify it for us all.

    Does this also mean that Walter Hewlett will finally shut up and go away?

    • Yup. The board chose not to "invite" back the lone trouble maker. This is the first time there is neither a Hewlett nor a Packard on the board.

      I mean, what are you going to do to the whiny, cray-baby loser who just cost your company (and share holders) MILLIONS in advertising alone?! (not to mention of the proxy votes being sent, re sent, and sent yet again).

      Share holders shoulder that cost. So if you own stock, give yr thanks to Walt. A raspberry over the phone at 3am would be lovely!
      • by watanabe ( 27967 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:14AM (#3457335)
        The comments that Walter Hewlett is a whiny cry-baby who is costing shareholder's money are just total crap.

        Read a bit about HP in, say, Good-to-Great, or other management books, and you'll understand that Carly Fiorina, current CEO of HP is a massive departure from the companies long term values, and it's showing in things like this purchase. I predict long term loss to shareholders from this merger -- it just doesn't make sense for HP. And the long-timers at HP knew it!

        I'm disappointed in the shenanigans the poster to the Interesting People list described, and frankly, Ms. Fiorina, if you ever read this, I'm disappointed in you. Please stop telling people the HP way is one that makes office politics irrelevant! You just look like a jerk.

        • I'm not arguing FOR Carly Fiorina...

          but mergers just don't happen becuase one woman has a vision... THE BOARD makes it happen becuase they deem the move will increase share-holder value.
          NOTE: I understand that sometimes the board doesn't know its ass from its elbows, and many board meetings are spent with the members sitting on their elbows ;)

          SO FIRST this merger had to pass by Walter (which I believe he okayed!!). Then he turns around 180 and drops everything to stop it after it was already voted on.

          If there was a time to voice opposition and remind people of the HP way. it was way before the board approved. This whole fight has cost a LOT of money. Almost every day there were 3-4 pages in the Wall Street Journal full of Pro and Against advertisements, all shouldered by the share holders.

          Now why is this important? Becuase Walter is on the board, and the boards mission is to increase share-holder value (As opposed to the CEO and managers whos mission is to keep their jobs!), and if Walter was acting in the best interest of the share holder this fight should have gone down long ago for much less money!

          Be disappointed in Carly, but also be disappointed in Walter.
    • What it boils down to is "if you can't beat them, join them." HP and Compaq got tired of having their crappy knock-off proprietary PCs competing for shelf space at Worst Buy, Office Crepot, and so on, so they decided to join forces and monopolize the crappy PC market. I suspect that acquisition of Packard-Smell would be next if it hadn't already debased itself below Compaq. Maybe they'll try to get Gateway's PC business next.


      The thing that kills me about all this is
      1. As AOL-Time-Warner-Turner-etc have proven, mega-mergers are not a good thing for your business. The best way to run a business is to eliminate inefficiencies. Mega-mergers tend to magnify these problems
      2. When Compaq acquired DEC, DEC stock went south, in a hurry. Last time I took a finance class, the professor emphasized that a good merger usually resulted in the purchased company's stock going **UP**. What this tells me (nothing new, of course) is that Compaq is a company to avoid.
      3. Fiorina (or however you spell her name) seems to have missed where HP's core business is. It isn't in selling second-rate PCs to office store chains for resale. HP would have done itself **and** Compaq a favor by dropping that business line altogether if things were looking grim. In fact, HP has a much stronger bread-and-butter business selling mundane things like printers, calculators, and oscilliscopes.
      As for Mr. Hewlett...who knows. He certainly lost the lawsuit, but had also said he was considering his options. HP also didn't give him a chance to get his seat back, so when his term is up, he's out. I guess I'll sit back and watch things play out, but I for one think this merger was a foolish idea.
  • The independent vote-tabulation firm, Delaware-based IVS Associates, reported 838,401,376 shares of stock were voted in favor of the merger, 793,094,105 shares were voted against, and 13,950,651 shares abstained.

    Who wants to bet that a lot of the folks who voted against the merger sell their stock?

  • Who really cares if two aging giants get stomped on together or seperatly? Honestly, this whole court case has been a battle between a rich boy who is living off his father's brilliance, and two CEOs who are desperatly looking for something to lift their reputations out of the duldrums. How will this affect consumers, be they corporate or home? Not one bit other than to have 1 fewer meaningless "label" to choose from.
    • I have always worked at small companies in out of the way places doing interesting work, and not worrying too much about who paid the best. HP is the only big company I ever interviewed at, and would have been interested in working at, because they were not the typical Silly Valley company. They used to stand for long term patience and steadiness. Quirks in their equipment to be sure, but quality was there too. Carly is destroying that.

      The 15,000 layoffs coming are a good example, as was spinning off Agilent. The point about not laying people off is not socialism or workers' rights, but rather the management mentality. If you know you can fire like crazy, you are more likely to hire like crazy. If you are reluctant to fire, you will also have a more long term outlook on hiring and expansion. If a project needs cutbacks, you will have the attitude of needing to find a new project for the current staff, rather than cutting back in a hurry and losing all that expertise, then later hiring like crazy and trying to integrate new staff.

      That long term outlook is gone from HP now, with the Carly (and Curly) gang in charge. There are no doubt lots of the old guard still around, but they aren't in charge, and HP is on the road to being just another huge corporation, nothing special.

      That's what Walter Hewlett tried to get across.

      • That long term outlook is gone from HP now, with the Carly (and Curly) gang in charge.

        I'm not sure, but I get the feeling that the demands on company management and the incentives they receive are not well balanced.

        I can see where shareholders want to see EPS increases from quarter to quarter, come hell or high water.

        Executive perks in terms of stock options tend to be for the short term.

        But I can cut costs in the short term by firing the research department, getting rid of quality control and subcontracting maintenance and support to a call center in a blighted urban area.

        As long as I get to bail before the cows come to roost in a couple of years, I'm a golden executive at the shareholder's meeting.

        Now if they only made sure the stock options given to executives could not be redeemed for at least 5 to 7 years. Their decisions really impact the long term - make their rewards reflect their true impact.

  • AOL-Time Warner (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gambit3 ( 463693 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:56AM (#3457233) Homepage Journal
    Kids(I'm looking at you, HP), kids(I'm looking at you, Compaq), didn't we learn anything from the AOL/Time Warner Fiasco? []

    I guess not.

    Let's see how they're doing in a year's time.
    • Re:AOL-Time Warner (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glitch_ ( 48803 )
      They will probably be doing a lot better than AOL/Time Warner/CNN/Netscape/Time because the Compaq/Hewlet Packard merger is a more vertical merger (both companies in similiar marketplaces and business space), while AOL/Time Warner was a more horizantal merger where AOL and Time Warner were in completely different marketplaces.
      This merger has a chance of actually becoming a successful business.
    • Much like AOL forcing Time Warner to use their e-mail system (which subsequently hosed up, cause e-mail to get lost, delayed, or appended with pix of britney spears) I'm sure there will be the typical integration woes.

      or maybe they'll all just use Dells...
    • . . .

      Nice link, that article. Especially the bit about AOL-TW stock effectively valuing the AOL compnent at ZERO :) Just repeating some thoughts below, which seem on topic here and worth reposting :

      To me it was always a story of AOL cashing out its funny money stock at the height of the internet boom. Many manias have come and passed, leaving a scorched trail of people who bought in too close to the last hurrah. My guess (since largely vindicated) was that Time - Warner was one such sucker.

      Nevertheless, TW was desperately seeking growth, as a mature massive media business. It's much harder to grow incrementally the larger you get and still hit that year on year percentage target for your shareholders. TW's growth prospects were heavily tied to, e.g., newsprint subscriptions, and the internet boom looked then to be able to run and run.

      As many corporations who have been out of fashion have found (think banks during the '70s, when all the "smart" money was in the conglomerate boom) out of fashion can quickly mean out of access to capital too, and print and press is desperately cyclical, and very capital intensive - worse even, tied to the sharp acceleration and decelleration of advertising which behaves exaggeratedly in synch with that most nebulous of economic indicators - sentiment.

      Things change, and may get better for AOL - TW, but boy does it look tough for them for the forseeable.

      Here's some selected quotes from recent Financial Times articles :

      But broadband is different. Anyone buying a high-speed internet access over a cable system, for instance, will already be paying for the cable company's own ISP. Why pay for AOL as well []

      The logic of the synergies, and the merger itself, have failed. . . . shareholders consistently fail to restrain management from empire-building. . . a fine example of hope triumphing over reason . . .AOL used its overvalued paper to buy some real assets . . .Those loyal to Time Warner shares have underperformed the media sector by more than 60 per cent. []

      It's a sad indictment of much of mainstream press that which was - to me at least (and allowing I spend a good deal of my time studying speculative bubbles) - plain dang obvious, is only talked about now - after we've all been hit by the train. But then it's easy to go with the flow, ain't it?

      P.S. Maybe someone still holding the stock should buy Gerald Levin (CEO at time of merger) a t-shirt with a slogan such as "I bought into the biggest merger ever, and all I got was this lousy CD-ROM". Okay, that's enough lame jokes from me . . .

  • and when the vote was happening, she was inundated with mail from both sides reminding her to vote.

    Imagine if politicians were so interested in voter participation!
  • This probably makes HP the largest Linux company by shipped product. Did you know that HP offers 24/7 support for Debian?

    The merger has not been a comfortable thing from day one, and the press coverage has been very disquieting. It's clear what people like me in the company should do now - our best to make it work, regardless of anything that happened on the way. I said a long time ago that this could be excellent for Linux, and I still think so. It's going to be fun.



    • That maybe so, but it's one more megacorporation, one less competitor and ultimately, worse for the end-user as the big manufacturers clump together inevitably reducing competition.

      Why they call it a merger I don't know - it was a takeover: HP eliminating a competitor simply by buying them out. There are no marriages in business; only rapes!

      I may be biased - living in Houston, we are expecting our unemployment rate to go up as a direct result of this takeover.
    • by Tadghe ( 18215 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @01:07PM (#3458056) Homepage

      I respect you immensely. I've been hearing the 'This is great for Linux' line from Carly, you and a few other OSS people since the merger was announced, but I have *not* seen anyone explain *why* this is good for Linux or OSS in general. Why is the merger a good Idea for the OSS crowd?
      I really would like to know. Right now I'm having to decide on what do I tell my clients when asked about buying HP/Compaq equipment, especially with regards to their Linux commitment. Will the DL380's with Linux compat LightsOut boards we have today still be supported 18 mos down the road by this new company?
      Should I tell them to check out the new Dell IU's or IBM's new line?

      Please for those of us who really need to know, why is the merger a "Good Thing(tm)" for Linux?
      • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:38PM (#3458694) Homepage Journal
        The reason it's important is a matter of corporate culture. IBM does not have a person like me, and never will, because the corporate culture would not allow it. They can't "get it" to the extent that HP does. Nor would IBM employ the Debian project leader (Bdale Garbee).

        I don't think you need to question HP's Linux committment. We have to go where our customers are going, and we get very firm "Linux" signals from them.

        You now have Jim Gettys, me, Bdale Garbee, David Mosberger, and Jeremy Allison in the same company, along with another 100 people I really should mention. There's a bigger array of Linux expertise than VA ever assembled, and most of them are working on GPL projects, and are also driving the company significantly. That's got to be good for Free Software.


        • My appologies for being the cynic:

          I don't think people question HP's Linux committment, I think people question what sort of management would do something that (from the outside, and being uninformed) appears to be ripe with headaches, inefficiencies, and cost for very little (relative) gain.

          I hope that's merely perception and not truth, though there's little history or proof to show otherwise.
  • Prediction (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    A year from now this will be seen as the biggest mistake in corporate mergers since AOL/TW. The reason is simple: The primary goal of the merger has always been to turn the new company into a big iron services competitor to IBM. And that just won't happen by merging these two particular companies.

    As for whether this is good for Linux, I think it's less clear, but it probably is more good news than bad. I suspect that the new company will be able to move much more aggressively in using Linux (ala IBM) than Sun has to date.

  • by bravehamster ( 44836 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:01AM (#3457266) Homepage Journal

    Compaq's fine consumer printing division will replace HP's struggling print division.

    Compaq will dissolve their business and enterprise division, and refer all service requests to HP consumer tech support.

    The new HP will announce a redesigned consumer level computer, named the Paviliario. Exciting new features to include 3 seperate proprietary motherboard connections, an LS-120 drive, and Windows ME. The Presarion business line is expected to be launched within the next few weeks.

  • by darkov2 ( 570389 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:02AM (#3457270)
    $19 billion for Compaq? I'll give you $10 bucks for it.

    I have to say I still resent Compaq for buying Digital. They killed off all the good research and turned it into another homogenised, bland corporate. Digital used be be a great company with great products in their time. HP has made some great products in their time. I wonder how long before they become bland and homogenised, selling lowest-common denominator boxes, avoiding anything that looks like risk, imagination or anything else that used to propel the computer industry forward. Now the only ideas they have is a takeover deal (and another and another). Great! That'll keep the industry going for the decades!

    I'm just glad that no-one will touch Apple with a 10-foot pole. Everyone expects them to go broke every other week. No-one in corporate land really understands what keeps Apple afloat becuase it can't be boiled down to a finacing deal. And they probably realise that the customer loyalty and brand respect they enjoy will very probably evaporate if someone tried to buy it.
  • I think this deal is *terrible*. Case in point: Both HP and Compaq make:

    (1) Laptops (bad ones at that)
    (2) Desktops (worse than their laptops)
    (3) Servers (no opinion)
    (4) Printers (used to kick butt, now I'm not so sure)

    So, with the merger going through, what divisions/departments get slashed?

    In my *uninformed, casual opinion* there is too much overlap of products and services, never a good sign. There will be chainsaw-like cuts throughout all departments and the end result will *not* be a good thing.

    I'd love to be wrong of course, but considering the rapid decline in the quality of the products bearing the Compaq and HP name in recent years, I really don't see this merger improving this.
    • It's kind of like the Dilbert cartoon:

      Box 1. Guys, we're going to merge with our biggest rival. And the good news is that they like engineers!

      Box 2. In fact they already have a department that does exactly what we do.

      Box 3. Except they're younger and less well paid.
    • Yep - I tend to agree. The products that overlap are so similar, I can't even see them getting much value out of new design ideas they obtained the rights for....

      Personally, I think both HP and Compaq built perfectly good servers. That said, they're all pretty much alike. I mean, let's face it. In the world of servers, all you really want is something that's fairly reliable (usually done by adding extra cooling fans and redundancy for things like power supplies), holds lots of RAM, and uses one of 2 or 3 major brands of SCSI 10K or 15K RPM hard drive. It's not rocket science to get this forumla right.... Even physical looks pretty much cease to matter with everything going to rack-mount cases. (Just don't paint the thing day-glo orange or something!)

      HP LaserJet printers are still pretty respectable, but that has more to do with compatibility than anything else. If the other leading manufacturers would concentrate a little more on good device drivers for all platforms, the differences would diminish quickly. (There's still the reliability issue though. We had an IBM Lexmark laser printer that was awful. Not only did toners cost more than any other brand, but it broke quite regularly. Bad design, all around - despite good print quality when it worked.)
  • Wow (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I read the email exchange from that link to the IP list... Its not like people didn't have like over a month to vote. Personally, I voted my shares of Compaq (for the deal of coarse) the second I got my proxy in the mail. I would have thought that the six and a half months between when the merger was announced and the deadline of the voting would have been enough time to make up your mind.

    As for a plan... I personally know that as of next week, new managers (and VPs) will be meeting with their new staff people to start to get the "clean teams'" integration plans in motion.

    Also, with the Tru64 UNIX (Compaq's UNIX) symposium next week in New Hampshire, I would look for some interesting news on how the UNIXes (or is that UNIXi?) or the combined company will be handled. It may be different than you think....
    • Re:Wow (Score:2, Informative)

      by wilhelm ( 5091 )
      The plural of Unix is Unices. I've also seen it as Unixen, but I like the first better.
  • Good for people who are sick of administering propierity crap, now it will be consolidated into one shity computer . . . a universal standard of shit.

    Bad for the poor people who will be stuck with these things. In the end it doesn't even matter, Dell has a lock in the PC market, and I don't see HP/Compaq's market share really going up as a result of this.
  • Compaq has the very popular iPaq line of PPCs, HP has the less popular Jornada line.

    Will they continue to make both, or will one get dropped in favor of the other?
  • The telling part of this merger, and a lot of answers on "why" will be answered on Tuesday when they announce which product lines they are keeping, and which ones are going away. Some choices are obvious, keeping HP's printers, for example. Others....

    Which to keep: NetServer or Proliant?
    Which to keep: Jornada or iPaq?
    Which to keep: HP Desktops or Compaq desktops

    They're both in the consumer and workstation PC markets. Which of those stay, and which go?

    All I've got to say is that if anything happens to the Proliant quality, there's gonna be a lot of IBM x440's bought on this end. Anybody got any guesses on which way the axe will fall?

  • The HP Way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zentec ( 204030 ) <zentec AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:24AM (#3457388) long gone. It's a shame too.

    In my previous jobs, HP test gear was a way of life. If you had a budget to buy new gear, no one was ever fired for buying HP. Now, that division is in shambles, the gear actually has flaws or is DOA, getting calibrations is a disaster and they've pretty much kissed-off a solid business for consumer electronics.

    I do not know how much of this was the fault of Fiorina, but all I can say is that it's my opinion that in a few years, HP will be remembered for what they once were, not consumer electronics and computers.

    It's a shame, but not unexpected. The visions of American corporations are tightly focused on the next two quarters, not on the long-run. They're willing to sacrifice long-term performance for short-term bumps in the financials and stock pricing. This is the crux of the games played in accounting, and it's a disaster that has yet to fully run its course.

    • Re:The HP Way (Score:3, Interesting)

      by barawn ( 25691 )
      What kind of test equipment do you mean? Their test equipment and lab supplies spinoff, Agilent, is doing pretty well: many lab supplies you'd be crazy to buy anything except Agilent, and I'm (starting) to grow fond of the Infinium oscilloscopes, though Tektronix is still my preferred (I do NOT like seeing an oscilloscope bluescreen!). If you're buying lab power supplies, you're best off buying Agilent, as they're the most well known.

      Then again, it could be because I'm still IN a lab that's Agilent/HP dominated, so I might be biased without even knowing it. HP itself I don't think is that bad: printer-wise, they're still in the top running, IMHO.

      I'd be sad to see HP flounder simply because the high-end stuff faltered. Maybe they can spin off their printer division as well, so the stupid parts can die in peace. :)
  • by Mordaximus ( 566304 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:25AM (#3457396)
    "from the massive-layoffs-coming-soon dept"
    From all of the employees of Compaq and HP who read Slashdot, Thanks for the reminder.
  • by anonymous cupboard ( 446159 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:30AM (#3457441)
    I work with computers in the financial industry in Frankfurt and the twin towers of DB's HQ are visible from where I work.

    Let me just explain something here. German banks offer depository accounts for shareholders to hold their shares. However, they have a nasty habit of making sure that the shareholder signs over their voting rights to the bank. This tends to give the banks a disproportionate vote. The German Association of Small Shareholders is fighting this, but it hasn't really happened yet.

    As the banks tend to have some interesting share positions themselves, this leads to major conflicts of interest. In the case of Deutsche Bank, they certainly have a large interest in IBM (not just as users, as shareholders).

    Last point, when was any large merger good for anyone except the banks and the lawyers doing the M&A work? It seems like they may have a win-win situation, with organising the financing and possibly seeing IBM benefit from the transaction.

    • The SEC has already looked at this and have said whilst they were unhappy about some aspects, there was nothing they could do.

      According to the article quoted Fiorina definitely did some questionable stuff though which makes me doubt her ability to be a team player. However DB, just looked carefully which way the wind was blowing and followed it. As you say they don't lose.

  • by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) <> on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:31AM (#3457443) Homepage Journal
    Here's what I see happening from the tidbits I've garnered from many a customers discussion with their HP or Compaq Rep.

    1) Anything without an intel chip in it, the days are numbered. HP invested way too much in the Itanium / EPIC instruction set and they are going to can PA-RISC in favor of Itanium in their future Unix Machines.

    2) Compaq already said Alpha going bye bye in favor of Itanium.

    3) HP dumped their 3000 line...Can't see any non-intel compaq line sticking around much longer

    4) HP will dump their entire business line of Intel products, the Netserver, the Desktop PCs, and the Notebooks. This does not include the Best Buy crap, just the stop corps use, or should I say DON'T Use. Compaq's product line will become HP's product line for corporate intel servers.

    5) Toss up in the consumer market. HP & Compaq have been 1/2 in the retail division with the Presario/Pavillion, don't know/don't care what happens to them. In my personal experience of living vicariously through other people HPs Pavillions break more than the Presarios did.

    6) HP Should maintain it's printer division while Compaq fades away.

    7) The new company will claim all sorts of wlid thing like they've been supporting Linux the longest, they have the most Unix experience, etc trying to woo the Open Source community when in fact the people that are running the new HP never touched Linux, they just bought and destroyed other companies that did (Digital) and desperately have been trying to get some news bites about linux because other companies like VA Linux, Pengiun Computing, and IBM really support linux by giving things back to the community instead of just hoping it sells more of their servers/desktops.

    8) IBM and Dell will continue to chip away the lead of this new merger, just prolonging the inevitable die off of even more hardware companies. If past experience of mergers with Compaq involved mean anything it'll be 18 months of a mess before anything positive comes out, and Dell and IBM will continually be beating on that. Dell from a price perspective, and IBM from a technology perspective.
  • This is great news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @11:43AM (#3457522)
    These massive mergers invariably slash the worth of all the companies involved as they go through their departments indiscriminately hacking away. The only purpose is big bonuses for the execs.

    The bright side of this is that smaller companies who can actually produce quality products the people want and at reasonable prices will eat through the market share of the combined HP/Compaq like sharks at a feeding frenzy as customers desert the sinking carcass. And with all the layoffs from HP/Compaq that will be coming, there will be lots of talent around for the smaller guys to pick up.

  • I'm still trying to return this damn dvd100i. The thing is worthless, can't even play music CD's let alone burn anything.

    I have *very* fond memories of my HP-9100A and HP-41C calculators, but frankly, everything I've bought from HP after that has been shit.

    I'm getting sick of the smell.
  • Now I wonder what will happen to all these obsolete domain names.

    Can I get, please.

  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @12:46PM (#3457917) Homepage Journal
    here []
  • How soon will it be before Microsoft, and HPQ-sun-aol remain?

    As soon as the big guys realize monopolies and cartels are more profitable than competition. Who ever said capitalism worked? :)
  • by berteag00 ( 78331 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @01:56PM (#3458417)
    I think a change of titles is appropriate...

    May I suggest the "HP Pavillion"?
  • by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @02:08PM (#3458508)
    I guess it is sort of fitting that two companies that have recently continued to fail to capitalize on their investments would merge. Compaq bought Digital and failed to really do anything worth while with them. The Alpha was a badass of microprocessor engineering. Had something been made of it the entire industry might have been turned on their head. The 21164 whipped other processors of the time like little bitches. By 2000 only about 500k Alpha systems had been sold. That is bad marketing and poor capitalization. HP for some retarded reason thought the internet bubble boom was going to last for some long period of time and dropped their slow growth steady divisions and spun them off into a separate company. That is another failure to retain their market capitalization. They may sell a lot of computers and not go out of business no one is going to remember them for anything other than for a stupid merger.

    Jeff Clarke: Somebody set up us the bomb.
    Peter Blackmore: We get signal.
    Mike Capellas: What !
    Blackmore: Main screen turn on.
    Captain: It's You !!
    Carly Fiorina: How are you gentlemen !!
    Fiorina: All your Presario are belong to us.
    Fiorina: You are on the way to destruction.
    Capellas: What you say !!
    Fiorina: You have no chance to survive make your time.
    Fiorina: HA HA HA HA ....
  • The new company will becalled "Hewlett Paqard"
  • It can now be revealed what Carly Fiorina meant when she said on the eve of the merger vote that "we may have to do something extraordinary" to get Deutsche Bank to vote the HP way. Shortly before the meeting, Fiorina opened her portfolio and showed DB Chair Hilmar Kopper all her assets. Then she gave him vigorous oral arguments and afterwards personally debriefed the entire DB board. No one knows what she told the board but shrieks of, "Das ist gut, Carly, das ist sehr gut!" reverberated throughout the meeting place during a 40 minute delay before the vote. A HP spokesman said that the DB board put up stiff resistance at first, but afterwards they were putty in her hands.
  • They should rename themselves to Helwett Compakard or something similar. ;)
  • Long live Compaquard Bell. /me observes a moment of silence for Digital Equipment Corporation and the old HP, both of which made quality products before being pimped out.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."