Compaq fixed on the Net

Compaq Computer is crazy about the Internet. Just don't ask about its earnings.

That was the gist of the keynote delivered by Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq's president and CEO, at the Compaq Innovate Forum '99 here in Houston, Texas. He dispatched the issue of the company's earnings warning, which sent its stock on a downward spiral on Monday, with a few bullish phrases -- "this will not slow us down," "we will move forward aggressively". Then he moved on to Innovate and the messages his company is delivering at the conference.

Pfeiffer spent the next 40 minutes talking about the company's new Internet commerce strategy, which is called NonStop e-business. Stripped of its marketing-speak, the message given to the several thousand users in the audience was this: Compaq wants to cash in on the Internet craze by selling its wares and services to customers looking to use the Internet for business.

"Enterprises that embrace and exploit the Internet will be the market leaders of the future," Pfeiffer said. He cited numerous statistics from various market research firms to prove a point that few people seem to question anymore: that the Internet is changing the way companies do business.

Pfeiffer said that the company's service and product portfolios -- including the fault-tolerant Himalaya servers it acquired from Tandem, the high-end Alpha servers it got when it bought Digital Equipment and its own ProLiant line of servers -- let it provide the kind of Internet commerce systems that customers are looking for.

Having achieved the goal of becoming a leader in the PC market and of being a major global IT provider, Compaq now wants to become an Internet leader, according to Pfeiffer, who said that the company plans to turn its Alta Vista search Web site into a full-function e-commerce site.

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