Compaq forms unit to target SMBs

Compaq Computer Corp. announced the creation Monday of a new unit representing a shift in its approach to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) from one that is product-centric to an approach that is more focused on business development, the company said.

Compaq will no longer offer a specific line of computers for the growing SMB segment, a spokeswoman for the company said. It has instead moved to regroup its SMB business under the new Global SMB organization, which will offer new hardware and services, including a new ProLiant server priced under US$1,000. Compaq also will offer a new financing program and an online store called Bequipt at its Web site featuring 500,000 products from Compaq and more than 300 other manufacturers.

The decision to move from a product-centric approach to one focused on helping SMBs find the right products and partners, including value-added resellers, is aimed at allowing Compaq to become a "trusted adviser" in the SMB market, the spokeswoman said. This will include advising SMBs on topics such as leasing, setting up wireless networks and getting business online.

The new server is the ProLiant ML330e, priced at $999 and available later this month. Running on an 800MHz or 900MHz Pentium III processor, the ML330e is designed to help SMBs build their first network or expand their existing Internet capabilities, a spokeswoman for Compaq's server business said.

The Compaq Deskpro Workstation AP230, designed for engineers and other users needing powerful single-processor machines, is also part of the SMB hardware offering. Available later this month, the workstation will start at $1,399 and comes equipped with a Pentium 1GHz processor. The AP230 is based on Intel's 815e chipset and offers memory support of up to 512M bytes of SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory).

The Armada 110 laptop, also included with hardware aimed at SMBs, will start at $1,099 and feature either a Pentium III 800MHz or a Celeron 700MHz processor, as well as a TFT (thin film transistor) display with screen sizes up to 14.1 inches, 64M bytes of memory and a 10G-byte hard drive. For the desktop, Compaq will offer Deskpro EX series PCs starting at $499.

In addition to the hardware, finance program and online store, SMBs will be offered a customizable extranet program called Business Advantage for SMBs for ordering directly from Compaq, and service-and-support programs called CarePaqs tailored to the needs of SMBs. The latter includes an accidental damage protection program for portable equipment.

The new business unit will be run by Mike Mata, who has accepted the new position of global vice president of small and medium business. Mata returned to Compaq recently after spending a few years working for Gateway Inc., where his most recent title was vice president of e-commerce and business development. Compaq named Robyn West to the position of vice president of small and medium business in North America. Vice presidents in at least four other regions of the world will report to Mata under the new structure.

Compaq, based in Houston, can be reached at reached at +1-281-370-0670 or on the Web at http://www.compaq.com/.

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