Competition between Compaq and HP remains fierce

It's business as usual for Compaq and HP in the Middle East, despite their pending merger. Competition between the two remains as fierce as ever.

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By  Rob Corder Published  October 15, 2001

Hewlett-Packard yesterday moved to quell customer fears that they would be forgotten amid the confusion of the company's merger with Compaq.

John Saw, director of marketing for HP EMEA's Business Customer Organisation, promised that all large customers of HP and Compaq would know the name of their account handler within 30 days of the merger. "Customers should feel confident of buying into either company today," he added in an interview with Gitex Times.

HP would not, however, speculate on how product and solution roadmaps would look after the merger. "The merger is six months away, and the solutions from both companies will be different at that time. All I can say is that we will move forward with whatever products are best at the time of the merger," explained Ali Ferling, general manager for Hewlett-Packard Middle East.

Until the ratification of the merger next year, HP and Compaq will continue to compete for business in the Middle East, according to Dr. Samer Chaar, general manager Gulf & Levant for Compaq. "The message to our customers and our partners is that it is business as usual," he told Gitex Times.

Fighting for the best channel partners will therefore continue up until the merger, and HP is becoming increasingly aggressive in that fight.

Asked whether there was any form of gentleman's agreement that prevented HP from stealing Compaq resellers before the merger, Ferling answered a simple "no." In fact, according to HP's Graham Porter, there has been a marked increase in potential partners approaching HP.

One company that has already come on board with HP, although it must be stressed that negotiations were well underway prior to the Compaq/HP announcement, is International Turnkey Systems.

ITS is already one of the largest regional systems integrators, with 10 offices in the Middle East and a staff of around 600. ITS has already successfully won business for HP within the Commercial Bank of Dubai; a traditionally Compaq account.

Jeraisy Computers and Communications Services in Saudi Arabia, is also rumoured to be on board with HP.

Compaq would not comment on what its plans are to defend its position in the channel. The mandate within the company, according to Chaar, is to remain customer focused and to keep delivering the products, services and support that have made Compaq one of the top IT companies in the world over the past 20 years.

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