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Corporate Compaq customers cussing the company for unilaterally dropping NT support on Alpha boxes are being offered a cunning and cute completion to the conundrum they face. According to sources close to Compaq, the large corporations can now trade in their Alpha servers or workstations running Windows NT, after the Big Q canned the platform two weeks ago. In the USA, if customers wish to stick with Alpha, they will be offered free Open VMS, Tru64 licences, or Unix, our sources say. Applications, we understand, are a wholly different matter. If US customers don't like the deal, they can plump for ProLiants using the Intel Profusion SMP platform. Despite many repeated calls to Compaq EMEA's PR agency, we were unable to ascertain the trade in plan here in the UK, or for that matter, in Switzerland, Germany, or any other location. But we can confirm a similar plan to the one in the US is currently being floated in Asia, with a trade back option allowing the corporations not to be caught after Compaq abruptly changed its course. The trade-in depends upon how much money individual large businesses have spent on Alpha NT boxes, with the trade up option replacing the system with a Wintel box. The size of the Wintel box depends upon how much Compaq corporate customers have committed to. Users on mainland China are particularly upset about Compaq's U-turn, according to the Newsbytes wire. Whereas Compaq sales of Alpha NT only amounted to two per cent of sales worldwide, something like 15 per cent of sites in Red Chine which needed big servers bought the boxes, and the Alpha NT business plan. ®

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