Compaq forms unit to target SMBs

Compaq forms unit to target SMBs

Compaq Computer announced yesterday the creation of a new unit representing a shift in its approach to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) from one that is product-centric to an approach that is more focused on business development, the company said.

Compaq will no longer offer a specific line of computers for the growing SMB segment, a spokeswoman for the company said. It has instead moved to regroup its SMB business under the new Global SMB organisation, which will offer new hardware and services, including a new low entry price ProLiant server (priced under $US1000 in the US). Compaq will also offer a new financing program and an online store called Bequipt at its Web site featuring 500,000 products from Compaq and more than 300 other manufacturers.

The decision to move from a product-centric approach to one focused on helping SMBs find the right products and partners, including value-added resellers, is aimed at allowing Compaq to become a "trusted adviser" in the SMB market, the spokeswoman said. This will include advising SMBs on topics such as leasing, setting up wireless networks and getting business online.

The new server is the ProLiant ML330e and is available in the US later this month. Running on an 800MHz or 900MHz Pentium III processor, the ML330e is designed to help SMBs build their first network or expand their existing Internet capabilities, a spokeswoman for Compaq's server business said.

In addition to the hardware, finance program and online store, SMBs will be offered a customisable extranet program called Business Advantage for SMBs for ordering directly from Compaq, and service-and-support programs called CarePaqs tailored to the needs of SMBs. The latter includes an accidental damage protection program for portable equipment.

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