HP announced that sometime in 2013, it will completely eliminate the "HP Compaq" branding. The firm will continue to use the Compaq brand, but only for entry-level PC products.
That's not a drastic change — Compaq has long been relegated to the lower rungs of HP's consumer-facing product portfolio — but historically, those products have often been little more than reskinned HP models. Starting next year, we're told they'll bear the Compaq name alone and will be members a dedicated line of "basic" PCs at "entry-level pricing."
Compaq — the storied PC brand that HP acquired in 2002 — has been little more than an afterthought for HP in recent years, its divisions and intellectual property having long been absorbed into the mothership, so this could prove to be a meaningful rebirth for the marque at retail. It won't be free, though: HP noted in its earnings filing with the SEC today that the branding move would lead it to take a $1.2 billion "impairment charge" in the next quarter. It's said to be a necessary accounting move associated with a change in the way the company will use one of its brands — a material asset — and there's little question that "Compaq" means less to consumers today than it did before the acquisition a decade ago.