A focus on customers, not resellers, is what will drive Compaq into the "new world of computing", said CEO and chairman Eckhard Pfeiffer at his keynote address last week.
Explaining that "we are reinventing our company to take advantage of new opportunities", Pfeiffer made no attempt to sugarcoat the fact that resellers will not be as critical to the new Compaq.
While Compaq's sales efforts used to be focused on its channel partners, they would now be customer-orientated.
"We will deal with customers in whatever way they want us to," Pfeiffer said.
Citing a report from Solomon Smith Barney, Pfeiffer said that the company's multiple channel approach gives customers more choices and is superior to the "direct-only" sales model of competitors such as Dell Computer and Gateway.
Not just margins
However, it's not just product margins that Compaq's channel stand to miss out on.
"Compaq used to rely solely on channel partners to provide services. With Compaq services we now have 29,000 service and support professionals employed by Compaq around the world."
Compaq's 30,000 worldwide third-party support partners would "complement" its own services arm, Pfeiffer said.
The acquisition of Digital had truly transformed Compaq, he said. "We are now a global IT company, not just a vendor of boxes," Pfeiffer said.
At the high end of enterprise computing, Pfeiffer reiterated that Compaq will support 64-bit computing on both its own Alpha processor platform, as well as Intel's forthcoming Merced chips.
Pfeiffer also said Compaq will continue to work closely with Microsoft to increase the availability and scalability of the Windows NT Server, as well as to make Digital Unix the most NT-friendly iteration of Unix on the market.