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COMPAQ COMPUTER




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Compaq* pushed aside IBM to become the world's largest PC vendor. Scarcely pausing to catch its breath, the former upstart is taking on IBM again, this time in large computers. Walt Disney will open its first high-tech entertainment center, called DisneyQuest, this summer in Orlando, Fla. As many as 30 more will follow in other cities. The five-story building will be packed with computer that run everything from the rides to the kitchens. Disney is using technology to pack into a medium-size building most of the experiences that in the past took acres of the land to create.

No great surprise that the 100 or so PCs in the buildings - for computer-based attractions, among other things - will be Compaq's. But this is just the visible part of the system. Hidden from visitors' eyes will be large computers providing central control and answering more demanding needs, including hosting the DisneyQuest Web site and providing ticketing and other business operations. IBM mainframes? No. These boxes will also be from Compaq.

A few years ago the big iron would almost certainly have been provided by the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard or Digital Equipment Corp. These were the computer manufacturers with the heft and experience to handle critical data processing. Significantly, each had its own operating system, with the result that software written for one of these big hardware vendors would be useless on a rival's equipment. But in recent years Compaq has come roaring into the big-ticket computer market with a line of products based on standard microprocessors from Intel running the standard Windows NT operating system from Microsoft. If you buy from Compaq, you are not locked into Compaq. That means Compaq lacks a captive audience, but it also means that Compaq is easier to sell.

To use a somewhat pejorative term, Compaq is a cloning company - if you define a clone as a piece of hardware that does not tie you to the vendor of that particular brand of hardware. First Compaq conquered the Wintel clone market on the desktop. Now it wants to ride that victory right off the desktop into the critical data processing operations of large corporations.

Old-line data-processing departments are still very much the turf of old-line mainframe companies, primarily IBM. But there is a world of businesses* like the new Disney centers to be won. Increasing numbers of companies launching new divisions or developing new business applications are doing so on low-cost Window NT servers, not on high-priced proprietary systems.



In short, if you think Compaq is just an assembler and marketer of boxes, you are behind the times. Since taking over the Houston-based Compaq in 1991, Eckhard Pfeiffer has put together the prominent Wintel computer company, with $25 billion in sales for 1997. No other company - not Dell Computer Corp., not Hewlett-Packard, not IBM - even comes close in the clone business.

 

***

Compaq's revenues are still very much tied to the desktop. The company moved 9.5 million PCs in 1997, which account for about two-thirds of its revenues. As the number one PC clone maker, Compaq can spread its marketing and development costs over a wider base than its competitors can and thus make more money on each PC it sells. Compaq estimated 1997 net profit margin of 8.4% puts it comfortably ahead of both IBM and Dell. With those profits piling up, Compaq has $6 billion in the bank and almost no debt.



Compaq is now preparing for the next stage in its growth. Its future lies in those Wintel servers that will run Disney outlets and, someday, banks and airlines. How did Compaq transform itself from a company almost wholly dependent on the PC to one that in 1998 will get perhaps $10 billion in revenues from servers.

Credit Eckhard Pfeiffer, the 56-year-old German-born M.B.A. who has been running Compaq since 1991...

Pfeiffer may not impress you. He speaks in a low monotone that has been known to put listeners in darkened convention rooms to sleep. But he is intense, focused and perfectly at home in the frenetic turmoil of the computer business. "He demonstrates that you don't have to have a charismatic persona to be a successful chief executive," says Noel Tichy, a professor at the University of Michigan Business School who has studied Pfeiffer's management.

Pfeiffer joined Texas Instruments at the age of 22 and stayed there for 20 years, rising to vice-president of corporate marketing. He joined Compaq in 1983, one year after the company was founded...

Sales grew, climbing from $4.1 billion in 1992 to $7.2 billion in 1993..

But Pfeiffer knew that if it was to be more than a box assembler and seller, Compaq would have to graduate from cheap PCs into high-ticket machines that run whole corporations...

by Eric Nee.

(Abridged)

Notes:

· Compaq is the title of the company, which is world-famous for its computers both, laptops and desktops.

· In 1997 "FORBES" recognised Compaq as the Company of the Year.



· * businesses = firms, companies.

 

Vocabulary.

push aside - устранять (препятствия)

vendor - торговец, продавец

scarcely - едва

catch* one's breath - перевести дух, отдышаться

former - бывший

upstart - выскочка; внезапно появившийся

entertainment - развлечение

run* - вести (дело), руководить(фирмой)

ride - прогулка; езда, поездка

medium size - средний размер

create - создавать

visible - видимый

hidden - скрытый

provide - обеспечивать, предоставлять

demanding needs - насущные потребности

hosting - здесь: размещение

ticketing - выдача билетов

mainframe - ЭВМ (размером с комнату)

manufacturer - производитель

heft - амер. вес, тяжесть

handle - обращаться, иметь дело (с)

data processing - обработка данных

significantly - значительно, существенно

software - программное обеспечение

rival - конкурент, соперник

equipment - оборудование

recent - недавний

roar - здесь: грохотать

locked - замкнут

captive - здесь: увлеченный

lack - не хватать

pejorative - уничижительный

define - определять

tie - привязывать

that particular - именно тот, конкретный

brand - марка, сорт

conquer - завоевывать, захватывать

ride victory - одержать победу

primarily - в первую очередь

increasing - возрастающий

launch - стартовать, начать

division - подразделение

application - применение

proprietary - собственнический

assembler - сборщик

prominent - выдающийся

revenue - (годовой)доход; мн.ч. доходные статьи

account - здесь: составлять

spread - распространять

competitor - соперник

thus - таким образом

estimate - оценивать

net profit margin - общая прибыль, выраженная в %-х от уровня продаж

be ahead(of) - опережать

pile up - собирать, накапливать

debt - долг

stage - уровень

outlet - магазин; место, где продаются товары

wholly - полностью

dependent (on) - зависимый

impress - производить впечатление

convention - амер. Съезд

focused - сосредоточенный(на)

turmoil - смятение, суматоха, беспорядок

chief executive - руководитель, администратор

join - здесь: прийти/начать работу

found - основывать

climb - здесь: вырасти

 

Comprehension Check.

 

Ex. Answer the following questions:

 

1. What is Compaq Computer Corporation famous for?

2. Who is it run by?

3. When did Eckhard Pfeiffer join the company?

4. When was the corporation founded?

5. What is meant by "DisneyQuest"?

6. What kind of computers will be there in DisneyQuest?

7. What other computer-producing companies are mentioned in the article?

8. Do they have the same operating system?

9. What differs Compaq from them?

10. What is Compaq compared with?

11. What is meant by "cloning"?

12. What is the new target (цель) of Compaq corporation?

13. What is Mr. Pfeiffer's contribution into the firm development?

14. What are Compaq's profits like?

 

Topics to discuss.

 

1. Eckhard Pfeiifer.

2. 2. DisneyQuest entertainment center and Compaq computers.

3. 3. Compaq compared to other computer-manufacturers.

 

Text 2

 

BODY LANGUAGE

 

I'm never bored at airports. Quite the reverse. I visit them like other people go to the ballet. To a Manwatcher, there's nothing more fascinating than observing citizens of different coun­tries mingling and exchanging body signals. And nowhere is the perfor­mance so enjoyable as at Heathrow, the world's top international airport.

Day and night they pour in, a cast of 36 million a year from every corner of the globe. Where else but Heathrow could you hope to see Brazilians rub­bing shoulders with Brahmins. Poles with Polynesians, Madagascans with Minnesotans and Neapolitans with Nepalese?

Each nationality has its own lan­guage of posture and gesture. But since these body-lingoes are often mutually incomprehensible, an inno­cent gesture made in an airport lounge may well be an unwitting insult.

Something in your eye? Think before you touch the lower lid. If a Saudi sees you, he'll think you're call­ing him stupid but a South American senorita will think you're making a pass at her.

There is no greater insult you can offer a Greek than to thrust your palms towards his face. This gesture, called the 'moutza', is descended from the old Byzantine custom of smearing filth from the gutter in the faces of criminals as they were led in chains through the city. So vile is this insult that in Greece even the Churchillian Victory-V is taboo, as it looks like a half 'moutza'.

It's so easy to give offence. Suppose a passenger asks at the Information Desk where he should go to pay his airport tax. Now the good news is that at Heathrow, unlike many

airports I could name, passengers don't pay any taxes*. But just as the Information Assistant begins to say so, she is assailed by a tremendous itch and tugs at her earlobe.

Astonishing though it may seem, this simple gesture means four differ­ent things in four different Medi­terranean countries. Depending on his nationality, the Assistant has offered the passenger the following insult:

TO A SPANIARD 'You rotten scrounger.'

TO A GREEK 'You'd better watch it mate.'

TO A MALTESE 'You're a sneaky lit­tle so-and-so.'

Only a Portuguese (to whom the ges­ture signifies something ineffably wonderful) would hang around long enough to hear the answer.

 

Happily, I can report that BAA's information staff are trained in body language.

A Sardinian woman asks if it is easy to find a taxi at Heathrow. The answer she gets is a cheery British thumbs up. Immediately, she clanks the unfortunate man with her handbag for making such a devastatingly obscene suggestion. This is why, incidentally, it's inadvisable to hitch-hike in Sardinia.

Isn't there at least one truly interna­tional gesture? Don't bet on it! A Japanese asks an American passenger whether Heathrow has a luggage trol­ley service. It has. And, as it happens, this service is not only first class, but FREE! So the Yank replies with the famous 'A-OK' ring gesture. But to the Japanese this signifies 'money' and he concludes there is a large charge for service.

Meanwhile, a Tunisian on-looker thinks the American is telling the Japanese that he is a worthless rogue and he is going to kill him.

The ring gesture can have further meanings. A Frenchman has just read a BAA advertisement. Glancing around the restaurant in Terminal 4, he remarks wonderingly to his wife, ' You know how much zis aeroport cost the British taxpayer? Not a sou.' And he makes the finger and thumb ring which to him means zero.

Of course I am exaggerating to make a point, but I do find it astonish­ing that Heathrow receives only 8 complaints per 100,000 passengers. Keeping the lid on this simmering rum-punch of international emotions must take every bit as much diplomat­ic ski'.'i as running the United NaliL'n.v

But even if you're never treated to such a choreography of misunder­standings, the Heathrow ballet is never dull. Eyes peeled next time you're there. And if you spot anything really unusual, like the South American Goitre Sign, or the Hawaiian Missing Bottle Waggle, do write and let me know.

 

Vocabulary:

be bored - скучать, надоедать

reverse - напротив

watcher - наблюдатель

fascinating - очаровательный, пленительный

observe - наблюдать

mingle - здесь: общаться

exchange - обменивать(ся)

pour in - валить

cast - состав

rub - тереть(ся)

shoulder - плечо

posture - поза

since - поскольку

lingo - здесь: проф. жаргон, язык

mutually - взаимно

comprehensive - всесторонний

innocent - невинный

lounge - комната отдыха

unwitting - нечаянный, невольный

insult - оскорблать

touch - касаться

lid - веко

stupid - глупый

thrust - выбросить

palm - ладонь

descent (from) - происходить

custom - обычай

smear - течь

filth - грязь

gutter - водосточная труба

in chains - в цепях

vile - подлый, мерзкий

give offence - нанести обиду

unlike - в отличие

assail - энергично начинать

tremendous - пострясающий

itch - почесывание

tug - подергиватие

(ear)lobe - мочка уха

astonishing - поразительный

Mediterranean - средиземноморский

depending on - в хависимости от

insult - оскорблять

rotten - низкий, подлый

scrounger - попрошайка

mate - (со)товарищ

sneaky - трусливый, подленький

ineffably - насказанно

hang around - болтаться поблизости

cheery - живо, радостно, весело

thumb - большой палец

clonk - здесь: ударить

devastatingly - разрушительно

obscene - недостойный, непристойный

suggestion - предложение

incidentally - нечаянно

inadvisable - не советуют

hitch-hike - путешествовать авто-стопом

bet - спорить

trolley - тележка

ring - кольцо

conclude - приходить к заключению

charge - взимать плату

meanwhile - тем временем

worthless - недостойный

rogue - жулик, мошенник, негодяй

further - дальнейший

exaggerate - преувеличивать

simmering - кипящий

rum-punch - ромовый пунш

skill - умение

running - здесь: управление

treat - обращаться

misunderstanding - недоразумение, недопонимание

spot - здесь: обратить внимание, заметить

 

Comprehension Chck.

Ex. Answer the following questions:

1. Was the author ever bored at the airports?

2. What does he do there?

3. What is Heathrow?

4. How many people come to and from there?

5. Why is it easy to offense someone by a posture or a gesture?

6. What is meant my "BAA"?

7. What is its staff trained to?

8. How can a "ring gesture" be read?

9. How many complaints from passengers does Haethrow receive?

10. What is Heathrow compared with?

 

Topics to Discuss.

1. The author's love towards airports.

2. The same gesture in different cultures.

4. "Ring" gesture.

 

 

Text 3


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