Compaq is betting its future on Unix and investing $100 million to promote Tru64 Unix, which runs on the PC supplier's Alpha machines.
The company admitted in a memo, which it sent to its staff recently, that the business it bought when it took over Digital Equipment now trails Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and IBM in overall Unix market share. Sales of Alpha based Unix systems are also well below company projections.
The purpose of the memo was to "make sure everyone understands the significance of our commitment. Our objective is to build market confidence in our Tru64 Unix on Alpha strategy and solutions."
It continued: "We see an opportunity to become one of the top Unix companies by driving for leading positions in selected markets, including business intelligence, Internet and communications, high performance technical computing, and business applications."
While sales have tanked in the US, Europe has performed relatively well, however. This, according to analyst Terry Shannon, is because Compaq has not been able to implement much of its consolidation strategy in Europe due to local labour laws and as a result, the Digital infrastructure has remained relatively intact.
But the decision to put more emphasis on Unix and Alpha was made by the "Interim Office of the Ceo" after the ousting of Eckhard Pfeiffer. And a triumvirate of directors led by chairman Ben Rosen described the decision, outlined in the memo, to "significantly increase our Unix market share" as "critical".
As a result, the firm plans to increase its joint marketing spend with ISVs on Tru64 by 400 per cent, double its field support staff, and increase its advertising spend.
The memo also pointed out that the Internet was driving demand for Unix. "That is why Tru64 Unix on Alpha is a cornerstone of our Nonstop ebusiness solutions," it said.
But Compaq is not abandoning any of its other Unix strategies to focus only on Tru64. "Our Unix strategy includes an aggressive program to make sure Compaq platforms are the best for running Linux, and continued support for SCO Unix," the memo explained.
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