Compaq is eyeing up Digital?s networking unit for acquisition as IBM casts its eyes on 3Com?s business, Wall Street rumours indicate. All four companies refuse to talk in the quiet build-up to financial results out tomorrow and Wednesday.
Eckhard Pfeiffer, head of Compaq, will talk about financial results when he arrives in London on Wednesday and is expected to discuss the company?s networking future. Pfeiffer has maintained Compaq is a networking company since he took over the reins six years ago. In the last two years, Compaq made a number of networking acquisitions but is still in the arms of partners for its routing and switching strategy. It is widely believed to have been in acquisition talks with Digital recently, and some observers believe that, although most speculation has centred on the servers operations, Digital's advanced and well respected networking products may be a greater attraction for Compaq.
The main appeal for Compaq is Digital's strength in the Internet arena. It will release an ATM Lan switch publicly on 30 January, and has FDDI, which Compaq lacks, as part of its Fast Fibre server strategy. The technology means that packet-based TCP/IP networks will be able to use IP switching software, a position that Cisco currently dominates.
IBM already has a deal with 3Com to share technology on the switching and hub fronts but earlier talks held in June last year failed to produce a transfer of technology from 3Com to Big Blue. A source at IBM said today: ?3Com is more expensive now than they were then. I could not comment on whether this will come off but in any case it won?t be until the 3Com and IBM results are released tomorrow.?
Compaq and Digital both release their results on Wednesday.
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