HP/Compaq: Bosses spread merger word

HP New Zealand head Barry Hastings says the company is in the process of informing customers and its sales channel about the proposed merger.

HP New Zealand head Barry Hastings says the company is in the process of informing customers and its sales channel about the proposed merger.

Hastings says the key message to customers is that it’s business as usual.

His counterpart at Compaq New Zealand, Russell Hewitt, says the company had briefed its distribution channel by lunchtime the day following the announcement and he had had conversations with key customers, although he would not say who.

“New Zealand is unique because the Compaq channel is in effect the HP channel and customers make their choices on their own evaluation.”

Matt Kenealy, head of Axon, which resells products from both HP and Compaq, says there’s some room for rationalisation in the Unix area, which is where he understands the takeover discussions started.

As for PCs and Intel servers, he says there are some brand and “sentimental” issues.

“And there may be customers with a fundamental preference for one over the other, but they both make good products and service them well. We don’t see any major issues for customers and we’ll be the interface for them as they make the transition.”

HP chief Carly Fiorina and Compaq head Michael Capellas have said that the merger will result in overlapping product lines getting dropped.

Specifics about where those cuts will take place, though, will only come later, after a careful and thorough evaluation, Fiorina says. “It is one thing to rationalise product lines on paper and another thing to build transition lines” and migration plans that protect customer investments, Fiorina says.

There already is a clear understanding of what products are likely to remain and what will be dropped, Fiorina says. But “one of the reasons why we will not be making broad announcements [relating to product changes] is because we need to have transition plans in place,” she says.

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