Is Compaq Taking The Software Plunge?

Silicon Valley is abuzz with speculation that PC clonemaker Compaq Computer Corp. is getting set to move into the software business. The rumors were touched off by Compaq Chairman Benjamin M. Rosen's sudden resignation on Nov. 27 from the board of directors at software maker Borland International Inc., which he has served on since 1987.

Rosen says his resignation has nothing to do with Compaq and that he typically rotates among the boards on which he serves. But he doesn't rule out Compaq's trying its hand at systems software, noting that the company already provides some programming help to customers who are building big networks. He says Compaq has no current plans to expand the effort, but says that under new CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer, the company is "much more open to new business." Those close to Compaq say it may begin selling a broad suite of networking software designed for use in computers with multiple microprocessors, such as Compaq's Systempro line.

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