HPcom spells 'IT disaster,' says UK firm
Save the 3Com customers foundation
A UK-based IT service company is warning that HP's acquisition of 3com could "spell IT disaster" for existing 3com customers.
Comtek Network Systems, self-described as "Europe's Largest IT Hardware Repair Service," issued a media alert Thursday to sound the alarm. According to the release, many of 3com's products could be orphaned by the $2.7bn acquisition.
As explained by Comtek CEO Askar Sheibani: "When two major tech companies become one, it generally spells good news from an R&D perspective, but disaster for many of the companies' existing customers."
Sheibani fears that service and support for 3com products will be withdrawn due to significant overlap in the two company's offerings: "IT companies like HP don't want to support multiple products that serve the same purpose," he writes, "which means in the event of an acquisition, some product lines invariably get the axe, leaving those customers facing great pressure to replace their IT equipment, irrespective of its condition or whether there is a genuine need to upgrade."
The alert urges HP to be "as transparent as possible" about its plans for 3com products. HP, Comtek advises, should give customers ample notice of product discontinuances so that the affected customers have plenty of time to enter into service agreements with third-part service and repair companies.
Such as Comtek.
But Sheibani doesn't appear hopeful that his advice will be followed. "Unfortunately," he writes, "too many large IT vendors crave absolute power over their customers - if they don't want customers to use a particular product, they'll withdraw support, withhold technical information and generally make it as difficult as possible for anyone to repair the equipment in question."
Sheibani, of course, is issuing his alert with more than a dollop of self-interest - but he has a point.
HP will almost certainly use its clout to expand its product line into areas where 3com is strong. Sheibani specifically mentions China as one possible target. When they do, both 3com's current customers and the third-party service centers that help them maintain and repair their 3com equipment deserve HP's continuing provision of - at minimum - necessary technical info.
As Sheibani puts it: "We hope that in this case, HP will look to respect the wishes of 3Com customers and help them to make IT decisions that best suit their own specific business needs, rather than bullying everyone into an unnecessary equipment upgrade." ®
Funny how things work out in IT. Having been around a bit a rembering how good those 3com NICs were. We had few ISA cards with BNC, AUI, 10 base t connectors - lovely.
Then there was the issue around 98-99 when aload of 3Com boards got shipped all burned with the same MAC address and unfortunately a lot landed in the hands of Compaq. And to make matters worse sold a big batch of machines with these cards to a customer who was less than enthused when only one machine would stay up on his network.
Hmmm HP buy Compaq and then obtain 3Com - weird world
oh how I mourn for the days when the 3c509 NIC ruled supreme and those things Just Worked and I still have one running on a 486DX NT4 based server. Yeah, honestly. Why? Just for fun.
@Oliver Jones re CPQ/HP drivers
You could try starting at www.hp.com/support.
Starting there it took me about 30 seconds to find Windows 98 drivers for a Compaq Deskpro PIII/500 (I still have one). It's not a 386 but it's not far off. Loads of drivers appear to be available.
As that's a business product I thought perhaps I'd try a consumer product as well. It took me a similar length of time to find W98 drivers for an HP Pavilion 8690 (AMD Athlon 700MHz) though there aren't nearly as many drivers to pick from. I still have one of those too.
Maybe there are instances where they've withdrawn all drivers, but I've got or had a variety of HP Pavilion boxes and never seen it happen.
No I'm not Matt Bryant.