For anyone to imply that HP needs to stay in the PC business, at a loss, to be a full service provider, doesn't understand much at all.
I keep seeing size, size, size is important in this merger. I guess HP wants to go after the 500 person engagements, like IBM Global, Accenture, PWC, etc does.
First, is there enough to go around? Can IBM be beat with a pickup team of rookies? HP would not be buying experience, just bodies, and not buying, leasing. You pay for them once with the 25 Billion then you pay them again, every two weeks. How many quarters before you start to win deals?
Second, alot of IBM's business is taking over IBM shops and outsourcing them. Think you'll get a crack at these? Not likely.
Third, IBM's political might is awesome, both with the Government and with corporate America. They have entre, deep and wide. As does CSC and Accenture. These are much more important then having a roustabout bench of MCSE's and software loaders.
My fear is that in the highly unlikely event that HP acquires Compaq, the merger will stall. Targets missed, hugh losses loom. The solution: cut more and more people. Stability declines, the "A" team starts to exit, and you've got the makings of a death spiral.
Just not worth the money, just not worth the risk.