Statement of Commissioner Mozelle W. Thompson
Hewlett-Packard Company/Compaq Computer
The Commission voted unanimously today to close its investigation of Hewlett-Packard's acquisition of Compaq. After reviewing possible antitrust concerns in both the manufacturing and sales of personal computers as well as the market for 64-bit microprocessors for Unix servers, I, too, have concluded that the Commission should not challenge this acquisition.
The 64-bit Unix server microprocessor market is very specialized and markedly significant because it represents the evolving high end of computer technology. Of particular competitive concern is whether this market and its consumers would be adversely affected by the combination of the Unix operations of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq. This concern, however, has been alleviated by evidence gathered by staff during the investigation and by written representations submitted by the parties. This evidence leads me to conclude that the combination - instead of reducing competition by eliminating a 64-bit chip rival - may enhance the merged firm's capabilities and ensure a long-term competitor in the Unix server microprocessor market.
The Commission in the past has actively reviewed mergers and other potential anticompetitive activities in the microprocessor industry.(1) I expect that the Commission will continue in the future to investigate any conduct that could threaten the price, quality, and innovation competition that the computer industry provides to our economy and consumers.
1. See e.g., In the Matter of Intel Corporation, Docket No. 9282 (June 8, 1998); In the Matter of Digital Equipment Corporation, File No. 981-0040 (April 23, 1998); In the Matter of Dell Computer Corporation, File No. 931-0097 (November 2, 1995).