Buyer Beware

Buyer Beware

In the handful of weeks following the HP-Compaq announcement, I think it's safe to say that thus far hundreds of thousands of words have been inked or digitised about the acquisition and what it means, why it happened and so on and so forth. You know, the stuff we journos do best - or worst depending on your point of view and which way the wind is blowing on any particular day. The analysts and pundits certainly came out in force with their observations, predictions and analysis, some solicited but most unsolicited.

Well, I've been knocking around this industry for quite awhile. I think the fact that I remember when there was a Burroughs and a Sperry, a Bull and a Control Data, a Tandem and a Digital gives me at least some street cred. No one's asked my opinion, but it's never stopped the pundits, so why should it stop me?

And I think I know the real reason HP bought Compaq.

Carly's numbers were looking a bit suss. Carly was under increasing scrutiny by Wall Street. Carly was under great pressure from within and without. Carly was tense. Carly was stressed.

So the woman went shopping.

Yep, she took the equivalent of the super-duper Platinum Amex card, plunked it on the counter and bought the store (literally, in this case).

Only a woman would understand.

But here's the problem: when a woman shops because she's stressed she tends to buy stuff she doesn't really want or need. Think plastic jewellery. Think lime green anything. Think breadmaker.

Hey, I'm certainly not the one to tell the lady that maybe an afternoon at Prada would have been a heap more fun, more personally satisfying, and a lot cheaper. As one who's done it, I know that stress shopping is pretty damned expensive even at a personal level - I figure, based upon current levels of use, I'm running at about $73 per loaf of "home-baked" bread, for example - but crikey, an entire company because of a couple of poor quarters and some bad press? Carly, I bow to a true champion.

I'm not sure how this story will end, but believe me this HP-Compaq thing is gonna get real stressful over the next few months. What's Carly gonna do then, you might ask.

Well, I also know the answer to that: Cadbury's.

Anyone out there need a Unix server and a box of chocolates?

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