— I’m not convinced the HP/Compaq merger is a bad idea, as Live from the WTC is. The founder of Compaq was an old boss of mine (who offered me a job as he was starting the company,) I worked as a consultant at HP, with both HP and Compaq as an OEM supplier, and also at Tandem, the HP spin-off that Compaq acquired to get Tandem’s T-Bus (and hasn’t figured out what to do with since the purchase,) so maybe I have some perspective. HP has a country-club culture that needs shaking-up, and Compaq is a good example of where it needs to go. HP has distribution channels and a knowledge of the Big System business that Compaq’s Tandem division needs for some strategic direction. And anything that reunites HP and Tandem has a certain poetic quality that’s pretty compelling, since the Tandem architecture was developed in the HP Labs but never marketed since it was feared that it would make the HP 3000 look too puny.
Some mergers replace weaknesses with strengths, and this one has the potential. They’re going to need a real CEO, however, like Ann Livermore who should have been made CEO when the board bypassed her for Fiorina. Even if HP’s motivation was simply to knock out a PC competitor, that’s not too shabby a reason on its own.