Fury has erupted in the US over Hewlett-Packard pulling the plug on its 3000 server line in a bid to stop customers fleeing to rivals.
HP announced that it will can the 3000 line in favour of the HP 9000 over the next five years.
It is offering sweeteners to its existing customers, including financial packages and credits to keep them buying HP. However, there are indications that this might not be enough.
A big 3000 user, the US Defense department, has already said that it is unlikely to migrate to HP-UX on the HP 9000 server, which is a different operating system to the MPE which powers the 3000 range.
HP's US server support general manager, Jim Murphy, said users were far more interested in more open systems such as Windows, Unix and Linux than proprietary systems like the 3000.
The technology, which hit the streets in 1972, has a large amount of residual customer loyalty. A member of the HP3000-l mailing list said that HP had betrayed users' trust.
While many users acknowledged that use of the system was dwindling, they blamed it on a lack of a sales drive from HP.
"I doubt that anyone will understand HP's self-destructive purge of its sales force. That, and the lack of support from upper management, reduced 3000 sales," said Stan Sieler of Allegro Consultants, which helped design the system.
Ron Horner, an HP 3000 administrator from US department store JC Penny, claimed that HP had tried to pull the plug on the 3000 series in 1985 and replace it with HP-UX, but that customer pressure then had forced them to re-instate it. He hoped that history would repeat itself.
Meanwhile HP is reporting results that were better than analysts' expectations, even if profits were lower than last year.
The company earned $361m in the fiscal fourth quarter, down from $841m a year ago. Sales dropped to $10.9bn from $13.3bn. Analysts had expected the company to earn $9.8bn.
The company said revenues increased six per cent over the previous quarter, while it cut operating costs by four per cent.
Carly Fiorina, HP chairman and chief executive, said the imaging and printing part of the business had helped to bail the company out, along with good performance in services.
"Overall computing systems results remain weak, but we saw improvement in certain segments including storage and PCs. We reduced our cost structure, improved our operational effectiveness and managed inventory aggressively," she said.
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