Sircampaq: The Winners and Losers

HPQ swings axe


SRCAM Day One We were in Cupertino today, as the "new Hewlett Packard" gave its first indications of which products will live and which will die under the newly merged monolith.

And it's big. SRCAM is now the biggest PC company in the world, the biggest storage company in the world, the biggest Windows and UNIX server company. It also makes printers.

Like a couple of kids locked overnight in a candy store, Carly and Mike can't believe how much candy there is! They can't stop bragging about their good fortune.

But they know that if they ate it all, they'd be sick. So some must go, and so top of the casualty list is Compaq's RISC Unix, Tru64, followed by HP's midrange RISC, and HP's Jornada and Omnibook brands.

Although the picture isn't as clear cut as that might suggest. Some brands persist, while the underlying technology changes. Some technologies remain, and get renamed. And for the doomed enterprise products there'll be a prolonged period in the nursing sanctuary, before they're finally taken out back and shot.

And although some hard choices have been made, other decisions have been decisively deferred.

Eviscerate this

Last week Capellas promised that Windows and Linux would "eviscerate" mid-range Unix. Taking no prisoners, the Don has decided to perform the task himself at the first opportunity.

At least this saves Tru64 Unix - born as Digital OSF/1, and later rebranded as Digital UNIX (D/UX) - from yet another name change. Tru64 will be maintained until 2006, however. This was the "third UNIX", born by committee in the late 1980s, once AT&T started to demand royalties. Although IBM was a sponsor, only Digital and Hitachi gave OSF/1 house room, but under DEC's parentage it became the first 64bit Unix, and gradually acquired VMS' second-to-none clustering and high availability features.

The merged SRCAM will port file system and clustering technology from Tru64 to HP-UX, which lives on. We couldn't get an official date for this, but according to Terry Shannon, who publishes Shannon Knows HPC, this will be late 2003 or early 2004. The Tandem Himalaya brand continues, under the moniker HP NonStop.

A surprising amount of Compaq brand equity lives on.

The widely loathed - at this parish, anyway - Compaq consumer PCs and notebook brands live on. The Omnibook business brand will be discontinued after this calendar year, although slides given to hacks today show the brand continuing in both business and consumer markets.

Compaq, as its market share merits, seizes the SRCAM PC business. The company pledged to maintain the HP NetServer brand, but surely not for very much longer.

With blade servers the picture is more complicated, and much less clear. This sector is awarded to Compaq, despite HP's earlier and much more comprehensive marketing initiative around its own blades. At 5PM Pacific Time, we were still be promised an answer. According to Shannon, HP''s Compact PCI blades will live on in the telco market.

Not surprisingly, given the investment in co-designing Itanic, chipsets and tools, HP sets the pace for the IA-64 servers. The Himalayas will eventually move to Itanic too, as Capellas outlined a year ago. Compaq had earlier carried out much of the work involved in moving Tandem to Alpha.

With storage, many of both ranges survive. SRCAM will "focus on creating NAS/SAN convergence" (like everyone else in the industry, even EMC these days) promises to do.

So both the Hitachi OEM'd XP and Compaq StorageWorks continue, with StorageWorks continuing in the midrange and low end. The merged giant sees systems management software as the differentiator.

iPaq will be the winning PDA: Jornada meeting an early death this year. The iPaq thin clients will be rebranded under the HP badge. Compaq also uses the brand for home networking kit, but the top level overview issued today doesn't extend to that level of detail.

"They've done due diligence," was Shannon's conclusion. "They've done good."

But what about the human casualties?

After all the word "consolidation", which we've heard so much of recently, takes its derivation from the ancient Greek word consolos, or to offer consolation after having thrown one's unwanted slaves off the cliff.*.

This question was answered by the CFO, Bob Wayman. It's the first time we'd seen Wayman way up close.

He towered over Capellas and Fiorina on the low stage - although they're the same height, Capellas has a huge head, but a tiny body, like a tadpole - and the CFO looked like a deeply tanned Bill Deedes. Deedes was the real life inspiration for the character William Boot, in Evelyn Waugh's novel Scoop. Only Wayman, a thirty year HP veteran with nine years on the HP board, is about eight feet tall. We wouldn't want to get him angry (…but suspect it's already too late).

"Eight to ten thousand people leave the organization each year through attrition," said Wayman, who said it was not unreasonable that the target figure of 15,000 could be reached through voluntary programs. And a little assistance, we could hear him thinking.®

* Not really. But can anyone offer us a dictionary definition of capellas?.

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