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Compaq eyes future of 64-bit computing

June 16, 1998
Web posted at: 11:00 a.m. EDT

by David Pendery

(IDG) -- Compaq Computer's new Enterprise 2000 strategy will get a serious boost from technology the company will acquire from Digital Equipment, including operating systems based on Digital UNIX and OpenVMS, clustering technology, and Digital StorageWorks storage products, Compaq officials said at a press conference in New York on Friday.

With nagging delays of Intel's 64-bit Merced processor, the brains behind all of this brawn will definitely be Digital's vaunted Alpha processor, said John Rando, senior vice president and group general manager of Compaq services, in an interview after the press conference.

"With Merced, it's been one delay after another," Rando said. "So we feel we can lead [64-bit computing] with Alpha."

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Although Rando said the company's final processor platform strategy has not been decided upon, he said that for the near term "we are about making Alpha a sustainable technology."

Earlier in the day, Compaq President and Chief Executive Officer Eckhard Pfeiffer told an audience in New York that the company would incorporate Alpha processors into Compaq products with the aim of "establishing them as industry standards" in 64-bit computing.

Rando concurred, saying that with Merced's erratic release schedule Alpha processors are the placeholder Compaq needs as 64-bit computing becomes standard.

"If Merced comes along and offers differentiation, we can migrate the Alpha platforms," Rando said. But he added, "With the delays, I wonder how long people will give credibility to Merced."

Rando said Compaq is also finalizing its branding strategy, and the company is not averse to retaining the Digital badge in Alpha servers and workstations.

"We know that a dual brand does work in the industry," Rando said. "It's a good way to bridge technology and ownership."

Rando added that one pillar of Compaq's forthcoming enterprise sales strategy is to focus on its 500 largest accounts, giving them premium access to "ActiveAnswers," Compaq's soon-to-be-completed corporate extranet site, as well as the company's direct sales force and service arms.

"There is bigger business to be had in total solutions," including enterprise systems support and integration, Rando said.


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