HP sells Compaq

Earlier this week HP announced that they were going to split into two companies: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise for IT software and services, and HP Inc. for personal computing, including desktops and laptops, tablets, and printers.

Earlier this week HP announced that they were going to split into two companies: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise for IT software and services, and HP Inc. for personal computing, including desktops and laptops, tablets, and printers. (Follow up story idea: Apparently HP makes tablets.)

I would imagine this split won't affect most of us in the enterprise IT world, as servers, storage, OneView, and the cloud stuff will all be in the same company. I do wonder how they'll handle thin clients though. It seems like those should be enterprise, but they also have laptop thin clients which you'd think the laptop people would design, and then there are also all-in-ones which the TV people should design, and, well, I guess I'm glad I don't have to be the one to figure that all out.

This is interesting for me personally as I worked at Compaq during the time they (we?) were acquired by HP. Actually the morning I went in for my interview in 2001 was the day HP announced they wanted to buy Compaq. Gabe called me on my cell phone while I was in the lobby for my interview and said, "Dude! You're gonna work for HP!"

I said, "No no.. this interview is with Compaq."

Gabe said, "No Dude! HP is buying Compaq!"

Now anyone who was working in the industry in 2001 remembers how crazy that sounded at the time. It's like Ford buying GM. It just doesn't happen. There were four giant companies (HP, Compaq, Dell, and IBM), four options for business desktops and laptops, four options for servers... the idea that one of those four would by another was preposterous.

So clearly I knew that Gabe was screwing with me and trying to get me to say something ridiculous in my interview. But how could I verify this? (I cursed myself for not paying the $59.99 per month for the CDPD WAP browser plan on my StarTAC!)

Compaq's Washington DC office (where I lived at the time) had a security guard at the front desk. I walked up to him and very casually dropped, "Sooooo... how about that HP thing...."

"Aww man! Right?? Can you believe that?" he yelled back.

Okay, so I knew this was legit. But now the bigger question was what that meant for my (potential) new job? My fears were confirmed when the guy interviewing me (who would later become my boss) got off the elevator, walked up to me, and said, "You Brian? Hi, I'm Jeff. So I guess we might as well do this since you're here, but I have no idea if this position is still open or what."

Obviously it worked out.

So I guess the merged company had a good run. Re/code is reporting that HP tried to find a buyer different parts of the company, including talking to Dell, Lenovo, IBM, Wipro, and Infosys, but at the end of the day, no one wanted them. So Hewlett-Packard and HP it is!

By the way, did you notice that the enterprise company will use the full name Hewlett-Packard (with the dash even!), while the consumer company will just be called HP? I kind of expect the new Hewlett-Packward logo to use serif font, and I imagine their business cards will have the raised printed text.

220px HP 1974 logo svg

Fig. 1. Hewlett-Parkard's new logo. (Proposed.)

Shout out to Jon Brown for the inspiration for the title for this article. :)

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

The first computer I ever purchased myself was a Compaq (1999-ish?). Athlon processor, Voodoo graphics card and Win98. What a beast. Hooked it up to my sweet Packard Bell monitor.

Have never owned an HP computer. Never wanted to. I just wish they'd go back to making quality stuff like my LaserJet 3 and 4 - things are tanks and still running.


@Brian, wasn't there some story about you and your boss finding a SAN or something while you worked there?


Hewlett-Packard and "HP".

Good, the lowercase "hp" never worked for me.



I meant to comment earlier but it has been a crazy month for me.  I've been an HP Enterprise Services employee for almost eight years now.  It has been a roller coaster ride to say the least but it had seemed to me that Meg had the company going in a generally correct direction.  She managed to get EDS integrated into the company, (something Mark Hurd and Leo Apotheker had barely even tried to do.  She got the innovation engine that Hurd had murdered restarted.  She had even gotten the individual business units to start working together on the OneHP mantra.  

Obviously there are still A LOT of issues internally but I felt things were going in the right direction.  So the news on Sunday was somewhat of a shock to me.  Once the dust has settled I need to get new direction on how we are to work with PPS going forward.  My team has spent a lot of time building the relationship with several PPS leaders and I felt we were getting traction on several initiatives.  Does that come to a halt now or do we have to get formal partnership agreements written up?  Do we have the ability to propose solutions using 3rd party end points?  Can I get a Mac at work?  ;-)

Lots of moving parts here.  This is purely speculative on my part but I don't believe HP Inc stays independent for long.  I think they will be bought up and the two entities will go their own way.  I also think this break up is to start positioning HP to restart those merger talks with EMC.  I think that is almost certain to happen if EMC spins off VMware.  

Meanwhile my team and I will just keep getting it done.  We've got a lot of EUC sticks in the fire with new product solutions and new customers in the pipe.  Time for one more loop in this roller coaster ride.