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Compaq buys US systems integrator

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Compaq is to buy a US systems integrator called Proxicom for $266m. This will increase the numbers of service professionals working for Compaq in North America by 1000, or 20 per cent of the total.

Compaq is getting to look more and more like IBM with each passing day. The company may have lost its crown as the world's biggest PC maker this quarter to upstart Dell. But it is consoling itself by moving up the value chain into more and more services.

Big Q is looking for more acquisitions in so-called econsultancy, and not just in America. The company says this won't create conflict with other systems integrators - but it's difficult to see how it won't avoid conflict. The more people it has working inhouse for services business, the less need it has for using third party integrators.

Compaq currently services around 250 global accounts direct, inherited mostly, we guess, from the Digital Equipment Corporation acquisition. And it's letting integrators and resellers know which these customers are. One could view this either as refreshing openness, or as a none-too-subtle ringfencing manoeuvre. ®

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