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A year ago: Compaq gets Net knickers in a terrible twist

Report suggests U-turn from Great Satan of HairStyles

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We were supposed to meet Roel Peiper at Comdex/Fall but were told he had suffered a skiing accident. Now we have a fair idea of exactly what that accident was. The Dutchman had attempted to ski down Eckhard Pfeiffer's hair and bumped into a road block. That also seemed to be the case for Eck's top channel supremo, who left the company in mysterious circumstances a week last Friday, thus suggesting to the wise that if you lose too many top lieutenants, you're going to find yourself fragged. But Compaq had not finished fragging itself in the foot, The Register discovered a few days later. Compaq UK has issued a document called Cost Confusion Control: The NC Exposed - conducted by an organisation called Benchmark and which attempts to lay waste to any arguments that an NC is better than a NetPC.... This survey talked to 384 IT directors and managers about the pros and cons of NCs and NetPCs and the spinners got lyrical when they put words in Compaq Exec's gobs. For example: "Proponents of the NC would have users believe that the NC is an IT nirvana. The reality is that there pros and cons to the NC." The spinners, unfortunately, are unaware that the word nirvana, according to Sir Monier Monier-Williams, in his monumental Sanskrit-English Dictionary, means extinction. Do the proponents of the NC really believe this? It would seem, on the other hand, that Compaq and the egregious Benchmark do have this in mind. According to the report (page 13), "The vast majority of IT directors and managers have no intention of adopting NCs or Net PCs in the next two years". So did this signal a u-turn from Compaq? According to the poor chap we talked to, it did not. Nor did he think that Compaq's own licensing of Citrix technology pre-Christmas meant anything at all. Nor was he aware that even as we write, the Windows Terminal is coming into its own. The problem is that Compaq has nailed its colours to the mast of the Net PC (passim, As You Like It) and now it finds itself hoist by its own petard, so engaging in a mixed metaphor of paradigms which denotes a shift in its PC strategy. Or, at least, that's what we think the marketing boys and girls know but aren't allowed to say. * Register MixedMetaphorParadigm No. 123. Nailing colours to the mast does not mean being committed, except insofar as holding out to the bitter end means the same thing. Petard is a kind of bomb and the danger was you could find it going off in your hand. ®

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