Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 13, 2009 12:27 PM
In a move that can only be described as deja vu all over again, computer giant HP is introducing a new line of computers under the name Compaq.
How can we forget Compaq? Once the high-flying chief competitor to the IBM PC, Compaq lost focus in the late 1990s after a series of acquisitions, and stumbled for years until being acquired by HP in 2002. Ever since, Compaq has been somewhat of a stealth brand that one could easily assume HP had permanently sent to the brand graveyard.
But just in time for Halloween, Compaq has risen from the grave. In conjunction with the October 22 release of Microsoft's Windows 7, HP is bringing out a series of low-priced Compaq computers targeting small businesses. John Cook, an HP marketing VP, told InformationWeek: "Compaq is still a multi-billion dollar brand and some folks don't know it's HP!"
Well, there's a good reason for that. After all, the HP-Compaq "merger" was a controversial move that some believe led to the 2005 resignation of then-CEO Carly Fiorina. Compaq itself had executed an ugly acquisition of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1998. HP was thought to be more interested in the business value of long-time rival Digital than of Compaq. In essence, Compaq was not necessarily the brand name HP was most interested in acquiring.
So it's with no small amount of irony that we greet the news that Compaq is back. According to InformationWeek, "These new computers represent something of a re-coming out party for HP's Compaq brand, which HP is trying to re-brand as an entry-level value option for small business as well as consumers." In the technology world, what goes around, comes around.