ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
   computing
   personal technology
   space
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
COMPUTING

Compaq dumps Windows NT-on-Alpha

August 24, 1999
Web posted at: 11:49 a.m. EDT (1549 GMT)

by Dan Briody and Bob Trott

From...
InfoWorld

(IDG) -- In a stunning move, Compaq has laid off more than 100 people in labs in Redmond, Wash., who worked exclusively on porting Windows NT to the Alpha platform. The company has effectively discontinued support of Microsoft's operating system on Alpha.
MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  InfoWorld home page
  InfoWorld forums home page
  InfoWorld Internet commerce section
  Get Media Grok and The Industry Standard Intelligencer delivered for free
 Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
  IDG.net's personal news page
  Year 2000 World
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Subscribe to IDG.net's free daily newsletter for IT leaders
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
 News Radio
 * Fusion audio primers
 * Computerworld Minute
   

According to a source inside Compaq West (formerly DECWest), a set of labs used to port Windows NT and 2000 to the Alpha platform, Compaq pulled the plug on NT for Alpha earlier in the week.

"Compaq was very clear that Alpha would be used for Linux, Tru64 Unix, and Open VMS," said the source, who requested anonymity.

The source said that the decision came as a surprise to Microsoft officials, and the software giant was considering pulling out the Alpha code currently written into Windows 2000. The dilemma now facing Microsoft officials is what to do with the hundreds of Alpha systems now beta testing 64-bit versions of Windows 2000.

"All of the development is being done on the Alpha, so how can you just pull the plug?" the source said.

The atmosphere inside of Compaq West was described as "awful" and "grim" by insiders. Employees are being incentivized to stay on board until the completion of Service Pack 6 for Windows NT 4.0.

Inside the halls of Compaq West, opinions on the reason for the pullout varied from the speed of the Intel eight-way architecture obviating the need for Alpha to low percentages of NT-on-Alpha users. Analysts concurred with the latter.

"Alpha is the sole survivor of the various RISC implementations, and Microsoft has been getting some mileage out of having [Windows NT] on that platform," said Dwight Davis, a Kirkland, Wash.-based analyst at Summit Strategies.

Davis said the timing of Compaq's decision was tricky for Microsoft, where officials have been working feverishly to get Windows 2000 out the door in 1999.

"Alpha as a platform has been very much a niche product anyway, and tended to be a high-end niche product [which is an area] where NT has not been particularly strong anyway," Davis said. "With Windows 2000 around the corner, you would think there might be something of a surge in interest of that system on Alpha."

"This makes me wonder about the prognosis for Alpha," Davis said. "At Compaq there has been major management shakeups, and this could be something that's fallen by the wayside. It's a very expensive venture and maybe hasn't generated the kind of return Compaq would like to see on it."

The move is not likely to be the last from Compaq. Another employee that preferred to remain anonymous said that Michael Capellas, the newly appointed CEO addressed the support division last week and expressed dismay at the number of support personnel.

"He was very evasive, but he said that the company would have to study the situation very carefully and make some decisions," said the employee. "He said they were going to have to find out what those people were doing."

Microsoft and Compaq officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.


RELATED STORIES:
Compaq gets back to basics with new notebooks
July 27, 1999
Server appliances: Can NT make the squeeze?
June 24, 1999
Six NT workstations churn out intense performance
April 23, 1999
Compaq wants in on the Unix market
January 29, 1999

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Compaq cuts back work on Windows NT for Alpha
(Computerworld)
Compaq sells chip unit to California company
(IDG.net)
Compaq debuts 2 new ProLiant 8-way servers
(IDG.net)
Compaq to unveil new server, enterprise strategy
(Computerworld)
Compaq to cut distributors, staff in Europe, Mideast and Africa
(IDG.net)
Compaq posts loss, cuts up to 8,000 jobs
(IDG.net)
Compaq announces Alpha server, workstation
(Computerworld)
Compaq picks CEO
(PC World Online)
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

RELATED SITES:
Compaq
Microsoft
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.