Duct tape anyone?
So Compaq's going to buy Tandem. Analysts say that'll make Compaq the largest supplier of servers. Interesting! What's even more interesting is the way Tandem sells its products, and the way Compaq has been heading lately.
It's a sensitive subject for Australian Compaq boss Ian Penman, but the words "direct" and "Compaq" are being linked more and more. In the US, Compaq boss Eckhard Pfeiffer recently announced that he was increasing the company's sales force of 4000 with 2000 new people. 6000 people!!! There'll be a whole lot of closing going on!
And now, he'll be picking up 4000 extra sales people from Tandem. That's 10,000 evangelists for the Compaq family . . . enough to make Amway envious. Compaq should be an interesting company to watch over the next year or so. Just how will it arrange its business units and keep its channel and direct sales units balanced and happy?
Those of us with long memories know that the name Compaq comes from COMPAtability and Quality. Without companies like Compaq nipping at the heels of IBM from the very beginning of the PC, this would be a much less interesting industry.
Now it's chipmakers AMD and Cyrix that are doing the nipping . . . at Intel's marketplace. If nothing else, the processor choice offered to PC vendors will accelerate the inexorable drop in CPU prices.
We seem to be getting more Moore's law than we could otherwise have expected.
Through thick and thin
Intel is also in the news because PC vendors have started announcing their NetPC boxes. As one commentator said though, you can get much the same effect as a NetPC by putting duct tape over the diskette drive on an existing model. And it doesn't cost any more either.
Watching the two sides argue about thin- versus thick-client applications is like watching the government and opposition in Canberra facing off. Neither will admit that there may be some merit in the other party's case.
The fact is, there's a lot to be said about centralising control and distribution of end-user applications in many situations. But there are also many cases where the end user must be allowed the final say on what he/she does with the computer.
One of the most frustrating things a competent user can ever hear is "why do you need that?" I'd like to see them write that on their next personal tax return. But I digress . . .