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EDS era ends

Ian Brown | Sept. 28, 2009
Change of brand completes the formalities of the EDS acquisition

On 23 September 2009, HP announced that it is retiring the EDS brand. EDS, an HP company will become HP Enterprise Services, alongside HPs enterprise servers and storage, network, software and technology services under the renamed HP Enterprise Business. There are no organisational changes involved.

Change of brand completes the formalities of the EDS acquisition

Theres an irony somewhere in the fact that 48 hours after Dell announced its intention to acquire Perot Systems, to be known as Perot Systems, a Dell company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), the brand that Ross Perot founded in 1962 and sold to General Motors in 1984, is to be retired by its current owner, HP. HPs timing is as masterful as ever.

From 23 September 2009, EDS, an HP company becomes plain HP Enterprise Services. The website has been flipped, is no more, and even the signs were changed over night on the Plano, Texas campus.

For legal reasons, EDS doesnt vanish in every region of the globe immediately. Long-standing contracts with the US and UK public sectors mean that HP Enterprise Services will continue to conduct business as EDS for a little while longer. There will be delays to changes in the company name in some countries too: France and Germany, for example. But HP says that most countries will have renamed the brand by the end of November and it expects all countries and contracts to have changed by the middle of 2010.

As a change of brand, there are no organisational changes involved. And while it may therefore lack any real significance, it at least draws a line under the EDS integration. HP can say that it achieved its goal of integrating EDS within 18 months of announcing its acquisition in May 2008.

A message for internal and external consumption

The brand change is for both internal and external consumption. EDS customers will want reassurance and HP says it is talking to each of its key accounts individually to inform them of the change, rather than launching a rebranding campaign. Few customers will be under the illusion that the rebranding isnt about the vendor wheeling in HP equipment to replace their non-HP kit. Some will be happy with that especially those worried about the surety of Suns roadmap after its acquisition by Oracle. Others that have outsourced their infrastructure to HP wont mind what goes on behind the scenes as long as HP Enterprise Services continues to deliver on their SLAs.

But a few will worry that HP server, software and network technology sales will take precedence over the customers right to choose their technology suppliers and control their IT strategy. Customers build their data centres around particular technology choices, and the prospect of change of both technology and the tools and processes to manage that technology implies disruption. Of course, they knew it was coming from the time HP acquired EDS, but this closes the HP/EDS transition period.


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