Editor's Note: Live and let die!

Whoever said journalism was a cut-throat business, has obviously never worked in IT&T.

You only need to look at the unforgiving shockwaves an acquisition can send across your industry to realise there's no room for the faint-hearted.

Take the recent merger between Compaq and Digital.

Compaq's successful acquisition for Digital will cost more than it's stunning $US9.6 billion bid for the powerhouse. In fact, it will cost close to 20,000 employees worldwide their jobs. Thanks for coming guys.

And even though the deal is said to have created the world's second largest computer empire -- second to IBM -- its redundant staff can at least feel justice in knowing that even the big wigs get burned sometimes. Robert Palmer is a classic example. The now ex-CEO of Digital has seen better days following the recent decision from board members to snub him the hot seat of top dog over the new venture. Pretty cruel stuff when the whole world's your audience.

As for Digital's spokespeople who claim his departure, which is due at the end of July, is solely based on "personal reasons" -- get real. His counterpart at Compaq, Eckard Pfeiffer, should know. After all, he was the star favourite. As for Palmer's future, the only difference between his predicament and the other 20,000 dumped-to-be employees is that he can easily live off his redundancy package. But then, no price can mend a bruised ego.

And what of the end users? Sure, most are likely to profit from this particular merger with a more consolidated, competitive product line. But there's still the nagging concerns of whether they'll receive the same level of customer service or whether any new "house rules" of technical support and maintenance will apply.

Then there's the two local chiefs down under slugging it out for pole position.

On one side is Compaq Australia's managing director lan Penman and on the other Ron Bunker, Digital Corporation Australia's right hand man.

Hmmm . . . interesting.

I hear a decision will be made a week or so after this column goes to print. Typical! But if I were a betting woman, I'd say neither of the boys will get the job. HOWEVER, if one of them were lucky enough, I'd place my bucks on Penman.

But then, that's only if I were a betting woman.

Angela Prodromou, Editor

Angela_Prodromou@idg.com

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