Microsoft and Digital Equipment chief executives Bill Gates and Bob Palmer will extend their companies? relationship following the latter's merger with Compaq.
But Compaq executives refused to discuss rumours surrounding Digital?s Alta Vista group and Palmer?s possible retirement.
In the executives? first public appearance since the deal was announced on Monday, Digital staff discussed the company?s extended alliance with Microsoft covering enterprise installations of Windows NT. But many sources wanted to know if Palmer, whose future after the merger remains unclear, will retire when the deal is complete and what Compaq plans to do with Digital?s Internet group, Alta Vista.
John Rose, senior vice president of Compaq?s enterprise computing group, said it was premature to talk about lay-offs at Digital, product integration, sales channels or chip use. But when asked about the future of Alta Vista, which Digital considered spinning off last June, Rose merely replied: ?Compaq has an Internet infrastructure and we will work together.?
Rose and Harry Copperman, senior vice president of Digital, confirmed that the merged Compaq and Digital will remain committed to developing and supporting Alpha, Digital Unix and Open VMS.
Copperman said the merger ?has no impact on the Intel settlement? and Rose said the complementary nature of the merger means the companies should fit in the same way that Compaq and Tandem did last year.
Gates claimed Compaq will be as committed to NT as Digital because it has no other OSs. ?The only real criticism of Compaq was it had no capacity for integrating complex networks in the enterprise - this [merger] solves that,? he said.
Gates admitted a key element of Microsoft?s alliance with Digital was that ?Digital was willing to bet on Exchange and NT when they were just coming to the marketplace? but said Digital has gained because it participates in all Microsoft?s NT integrator programmes.
The partners made other commitments to each other as part of their Alliance for Enterprise Computing. Digital pledged to double the number of Microsoft certified engineers to over 3,000, Digital and Microsoft will optimise Alpha for NT, the partners will sell systems running 32 and 64 processors during 1999, include Digital software in Exchange and Microsoft will integrate Digital?s FX!32 x86 emulation software transparently into NT.
Digital executives claimed the deal to supply Reuters with NT-based systems, announced two weeks ago, is the biggest ever NT deal. Gates said other companies were jealous of the contract and Palmer joked: ?Compaq was so jealous it paid $10 billion to get it.?
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