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July 16, 1998

COMPAQ HOPES TO CASH IN ON Y2K WOES OF DEC VAX BASE

By CBR Staff Writer

Compaq may have bought Digital Equipment Corp mainly to get its greedy hands on DEC’s $6bn services arm, but it also took over DEC to convert the venerable minicomputer vendor’s vast installed base of VAX and Alpha servers into a money-making machine. That idea will be put to the test in the coming months, but Compaq is already showing signs that it can coerce the old DEC to think in new ways. At 700,000 installed systems, the VAX and Alpha base is one of the ripest Year 2000 targets out there, and Compaq Services is coming straight out of the chute after its recent takeover of DEC with a special deal that allows VAX customers to lease extra computing capacity and Y2K tools on the cheap to update their legacy code.

By Timothy Prickett Morgan

VAX users can acquire supplementary computing power and Y2K tools from Compaq Services under the Year 2000 Parallel Environments program for as little as $4,000 per month. That price includes an 18-month lease on an entry-level AlphaServer system, equipped with an appropriate amount of storage and a selection of Y2K tools. Under the deal, VAX users can choose either Navig8 2000 from Accelr8 Technology Corp or the DEC version of Piercom 2000 from Piercom Ltd to assess their Y2K bug infestation levels; the deal also includes MillenniumTest from Cyrano to handle the testing phase of the application update process. Compaq Services is also offering customers a chance to buy its Year 2000 System Healthcheck service if they want a second opinion as they make Y2K bug fixes. The Parallel Environment deal is being offered in North America and Europe, but should soon expand to other parts of the globe. Compaq is coming out swinging on the Y2K issue for good reason: VAX customers are deeply dissatisfied with DEC and particularly cross about millennium bugs. According to a recent study by Harvard Research Group, nearly 30% of VAX customers plan to move to another platform over the next five years. They are doing so not only because there are a wealth of applications on other vendors’ platforms, but because they are flabbergasted by the cost of fixing Y2K bugs in their legacy code. Compaq obviously wants to maintain and increase the VAX base by moving them to Alpha servers. Perhaps Compaq can succeed where DEC has failed. Both Compaq and the former DEC are counting on it.

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