While the Compaq/Hewlett Packard (HP) merger may be in the bag, analysts, employees and rivals are continuing to question the future of the company.
Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said that, regardless of the outcome, the process has left HP badly, if not critically, wounded.
"The greatest damage may be to HP's credibility," he explained. "During the process of selling this merger, HP clearly made a series of assertions with regard to employee support, financial performance and execution that, in some cases, appeared untrue at the stockholders meeting."
He added that other assertions are likely to appear well overstated when the actual events are reported later this year.
According to a Dow Jones report, Ann Livermore, HP's president of IT services, told her managers that the services division's revenue and profit were "well below plan" in the current quarter and that new orders remain "very soft".
Services contributed $7.6bn to HP's revenue, or 20 per cent of its total, while accounting for 24 per cent of the company's operating profit.
While Livermore chose not to disclose specific revenue or profit numbers, Wall Street analysts maintained that the report could be the first sign of a financial fallout from the merger process.
Ashok Kumar, an analyst with US Bancorp Piper Jaffray, said in a research note that "the problem could be more pervasive, rather than isolated to services".
While HP's printing and imaging business is the most profitable unit in the company, making up more than half of its profits, rival Lexmark has claimed that it will be one of the losers because of the merger.
In its annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lexmark said that it would probably lose all of its original equipment manufacturer business with Compaq if the merger takes place.
Gartner analyst Paul McGuckin believed that the deal will profoundly affect HP and Compaq, their customers and the whole IT industry.
Vendors such as Dell Computer, IBM and Sun Microsystems are likely to gain market share from HP and Compaq during the third quarter of this year and perhaps until the first quarter of 2003, he said.
McGuckin explained that this was largely because of the short-term instability associated with merging or implementing alternative plans.
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