How a sceptical Reg warmed to the HP Compaq merger

Vulture volte face

There'll be no more cheap cracks about the Sircam merger here - no jibes about Princess Fiorina this or Don Capellas that, no more references to Carly and Curly. Recent evidence we've unearthed convinces us of the imperative that this merger must succeed.

Cast your mind back to one of Fiorina's first marketing initiatives. She blessed a move to remake the HP corporate logo into an italic hp. Very slick, but distinctly lowercase. And the title of the corporate web page was changed to "hp, Hewlett Packard: leader in computing and imaging solutions and services".

Earlier this year "lowercase-itis" was spreading like a contagion through the organisation.
And today, the main products page contains only three capital letters, and that's in a reference to Windows XP. Even the "hewlett-packard company" is lowercase.

Now it's typical of conservative HP staff, Wall Street naysayers, and - we're sorry to say - us too, to overlook the importance of this. Since Labor Day critics have been questioning why one PCs-to-enterprise servers storage and services company should want to merge with another similar but smaller PCs-to-enterprise servers storage and services company that doesn't have a profitable printing division. But they're missing the bigger picture.

The penny only dropped for us with thisdiscovery at BBspot. Only a fortnight before the merger was announced, Compaq unveiled a 208-key keyboard "for people who hate the 'shift' key". Then it fell into place: Fiorina had been alerted early to the one key technical innovation that could remake Hewlett Packard. She'd performed a quick buy or copy calculation, and with the astuteness for which she's become renowned, decided that it was cheaper to buy Compaq, and the IP behind the revolutionary keyboard, than task HP's famous R&D to produce a shift-less clone.

So it all makes sense.

If only we'd been able to piece together the jigsaw at the time the merger announcement, we wouldn't have written so many sceptical articles based on such ephemera as economics, industry precedents, and other awkward pieces of logic. So, we're very sorry.

Now critics of our theory may point out that since BBspot is a humour site, the report on the 208-key shiftless keyboard may not actually be true. They have a point... but when you take into context stories as perceptive as this one, then you realise that if a story isn't actually true today, it probably will be fairly soon. ®

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