HP to reschedule New Orleans conference

Bowing to the flooding catastrophe that struck New Orleans this week in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Hewlett-Packard Co. said it plans to reschedule the HP Technology Forum conference it had planned to hold in the city next month.

HP Monday had said in a statement on the conference Web site that it was assessing the viability of moving ahead with the event as planned. But in an update posted this morning, the company said it is now working "to determine a time in the fall when we can hold the conference."

The statement didn't indicate whether HP still has any hope of holding the conference in New Orleans or will seek another location. The company said it will announce the details of a new plan for HP Technology Forum 2005 by Sept. 9. HP added that it is indefinitely extending the cancellation period for would-be attendees in order to give users time to assess their schedules and decide whether they can go to a rescheduled conference.

All hotel reservations that were booked in New Orleans through the conference Web site will be automatically canceled without financial penalty, HP said. The company is also working with major airlines to transfer any nonrefundable airline tickets so they can be used for the rescheduled conference.

HP Technology Forum, the first technical conference for HP users sponsored by the company itself, had been scheduled to take place Sept. 12-15 in New Orleans. Chicago-based Encompass, one of HP's independent user groups, was due to jointly manage the conference with the vendor, and the OpenView Forum International and ITUG user groups were each expected to have a presence there.

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