April 8, 2002 1:00 PM PDT

Fiorina continues to stump for merger

SAN DIEGO--Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina hasn't taken a break from the merger campaign trail just yet.

See special coverage: A Fight to the Finish Speaking Monday at Oracle's annual AppsWorld software-user conference here, the CEO, bruised after a lengthy battle to get HP's merger with former rival Compaq Computer approved by shareholders, continued to tout the benefits of the combination and the changes in the technology industry that make the deal a necessity.

Both Compaq and HP shareholders approved the merger of the two companies last month, after a long and acrimonious battle with dissident HP board member Walter Hewlett. Hewlett has since been dismissed from HP's board after filing suit against the company.

Fiorina said trends such as industry consolidation, technologies becoming commodities, and lowered economic expectations make the combination of HP and Compaq a necessary development in the long history of the computer maker.

"At HP, we knew we could lead this trend or become swallowed up by it," Fiorina said, expressing a familiar refrain of recent weeks.

Furthermore, Fiorina continued to stress the technology and services benefits of the merger, characterizing the new company as a "stronger" technology provider able to better serve potential customers such as the nearly 10,000 Oracle users in attendance.

Shrugging off the continued campaign by Hewlett to disrupt the merger, Fiorina said, "The adversity we faced has brought the two teams even closer together."

Fiorina clearly views her job of selling the benefits of the merger as unfinished, but there are other reasons the CEO of one of the largest systems companies is present at an Oracle conference: namely, common customers.

HP has a 15-year relationship with Oracle, serving as one of Oracle's largest computer hardware partners for its database and applications software. For example, 70 percent of HP's "Superdome" high-end computer systems run Oracle software, according to Fiorina.

HP is also the largest user of Oracle's customer relationship management software, using the software internally across its businesses, according to the company.

Oracle AppsWorld continues here through Wednesday.

 

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