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Compaq tight-lipped over Digital's future

Compaq tight-lipped over Digital's future

Confusion about jobs, channels and product families is hovering in the wake of Compaq Computer's $US9.6 billion decision to acquire Digital.

Digital staffers -- while buoyed by the prospects of Digital's longer-term viability -- are concerned they're being left in the dark by the agreement's lack of detail.

Not surprisingly for a company whose headcount has been cut in half over the past five years, the issue of jobs is on the minds of many. So far, there's been little reassurance from the top.

Sales force anxiety

There is also anxiety in the sales force that overly robust competition against Compaq over the next few months may invite retribution after ownership of the company changes hands around June.

Few drew much guidance from a suggestion by Compaq vice president John Rose that the companies could compete against each other in a gentlemanly manner during the interim period.

On the topic of changes to reseller channels, Rose said Compaq would invest to "bring our channel partners into the enterprise with us", as the company works its way up the enterprise value chain.

Rose conceded the pact still has a "tremendous amount of detail that needs to be worked out".

Apparently included in that detail is the fate of Digital's line of portables and PCs. Asked whether Digital-branded PCs would survive the merger, Rose indicated those types of decisions have yet to be made.

Unlike the Compaq deal, there was no lack of information about the nearly simultaneous announcement of Digital's expanded partnership with Microsoft under their Alliance for Enterprise Computing (AEC).

The partnership will ally Microsoft's software technology, particularly Windows NT, Exchange and BackOffice, and Digital's enterprise services and support skills, to deliver single point of contact for customers seeking Windows NT solutions.


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