Digital's reputation as a vendor-neutral services provider is being undermined by Compaq's strategy of delivering proprietary end-to-end hardware solutions to customers.
In the wake of Compaq's recent acquisition, Digital's Multivendor Customer Service (MCS) unit will no longer be allowed to form alliances with other hardware vendors to deliver services across a range of platforms.
Instead, under the Compaq Customer Services banner, MCS will be forced to support Compaq products only. Other vendors within new and existing customer sites will have to maintain their own equipment.
"Compaq customer services will not maintain other vendors," Pathy Pathmanaban, director of the MCS unit, admitted to ARN. "We will not have conscious alliances with other vendors."
Compaq's strategy significantly dilutes MCS' vendor-neutral approach to services and jeopardises a number of partnerships with leading hardware providers.
Already, MCS' alliance with Dell has been a casualty of the merger and exist- ing arrangements with other hardware providers are likely to be scaled back to only involve products Compaq itself does not supply.
But Pathmanaban insists service to customers will not suffer.
"At the customer's end, they should not see any difference," he said. However, according to Pathmanaban, MCS will only fulfil that role if a customer specifically requests it.