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 user 2003-09-26 at 9:21:00 pm Views: 102
  • #7434
    HP CEO defends Compaq merger, says would do again
    Hewlett-Packard Co Chief Executive Carly Fiorina on Thursday defended her company’s Controversial merger with Compaq Computer Corp. last year and said she would do it again.

    In a speech to a technology forum, she said the combination of the computer giants created a more innovative company, but that the proposal met opposition because the need for it was not fully understood at the time.

    The $20 billion deal was narrowly approved in a March 2002 vote by shareholders of Palo Alto, California-based HP who were skeptical about the benefits of merging with financially troubled, Houston- based Compaq.

    “Yes, I absolutely would do the merger again,” Fiorina said in response to an audience question. “We said the industry had to consolidate. We said IT spending will never be the same again. We said customers were looking for fewer partners who could put more technology together.

    “That seemed really almost heretical at the time and I think, frankly, all of those statements are almost now conventional wisdom. But had we waited until everyone understood it would have been too late,” she said.

    Fiorina said HP, the number two computer maker, now produces an average of five new patents every working day and had come up with more patents in the last 12 months than in any previous 12-month period in HP’s history.

    “We have increased our rate of invention by 350 percent in the last couple of years.” A third of HP’s patents were produced at its Houston operations, where 9,000 people are employed at the old Compaq facilities, she said.

    “I wouldn’t want to dig at a Texas-based competitor, but we actually think innovation does matter tremendously to technology,” she said, referring to Austin, Texas based Dell Corp. Dell is known more for selling technology products than creating new technology.

    Fiorina also joked about the California gubernatorial recall election, in which bodybuilder and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger is the leading Republican candidate.

    “There may be a day when I can come to Texas and say our governor can bench press your governor,” she said.