Compaq to kill Armada and Deskpro brands

In an effort to streamline its product portfolio Compaq Computer Corp. is dropping its well-known Armada and Deskpro product names, as well as several other brands. The company will unveil a new name on Monday for all its products targeted at business users.

The newly named products will be coloured black and silver, instead of the existing sand color. All existing business product lines will be re-branded within twelve months, Compaq said at a news conference in Amsterdam Wednesday.

Compaq said it would sell its iPAQ desktop, Professional Workstation, and thin client devices under the new brand.

The step could be interpreted as Compaq’s answer to increasing competition from Dell Computer Corp., which dethroned Compaq as the world’s largest PC maker in the first quarter of this year. However, Compaq says this re-branding has been in the works for nine months and is not about competition.

“This re-branding is not a competitive measure, it is the logical evolution of the 12-year-old Deskpro brand. We want to make clear to the customer what our products for the business market are,” said Erik van der Meijden, managing director of Compaq Computer BV, Compaq’s Dutch business unit.

One analyst agreed, saying there “was a need for brand simplification” at Compaq.

“This is not a snap move in reaction to changing market conditions. This is a strategic move to reposition the company’s client product line offering,” said Brian Gammage, a principal analyst with Dataquest Inc., a wholly owned company of Gartner Group Inc.

“Compaq is preparing for the future and this change reflects where they were, multiple groups focused less on the customer,” said Gammage.

The first products out under the new brand are two notebook computers and two workstations. The notebooks replace today’s entry-level Armada 100 and the ultra portable Armada M300 portable PCs. The workstations replace the Professional Workstation AP550 and Professional Workstation SP750.

Not all brands are disappearing, Compaq said.

“The Presario brand will continue to exist for the consumer market and iPAQ will stay for new and innovative products,” said Hans de Jong, director of Compaq’s Access Business Group in the Netherlands.

Compaq, in Houston, can be reached at