COMPAQ Computer, the world's largest maker of IBM compatible PCs, has announced a range of services, products and alliances intended not only to keep it at the forefront of the PC world but also to enable it to take a large bite out of an area dominated by for workstations and some small mainframe computers. Compaq will be teaming up with Microsoft, and Digital Equipment or Tandem to expand its service and support, to improve its PC-based servers and develop an industry standard that will allow the resources of several computers to be linked. On the opening day of Compaq's Innovate Forum 95, it was announced that Compaq will launch a major service capability that will cover the globe. This move is clearly aimed at the corporate world and marks a big effort to woo the business market in PCs. In his opening remarks at the Innovate Forum 95 held at Compaq's headquarters in Houston, Gary Stimac, senior vice-president and general manager of the Systems Division, said the move marked a change in Compaq's corporate development. 'Compaq is changing its strategy from a PC company to a computer company,' he said. Compaq has selected Digital Multivendor Customer Services (MCS) as its global service and support provider. After looking carefully at those companies that provide service, Compaq settled on Digital MCS. John Rendo, the vice-president and general manager of Digital's MCS was pleased. 'The alliance with Compaq could become one of the largest in the world,' he said. The new world-wide technical support will have three centres around the world in Houston, Munich and Singapore. In most cases they will be able to give a two to four-hour response time, although it was admitted that some of the remoter parts of Asia may have to wait a little longer. There will be 24 hours a day, seven days a week phone support, system health checks, local and remote network monitoring and system and environment profiling. All this means better service for the customer, according to Mr Rendo. 'The real winners today are the customers,' he said. Mr Stimac said: 'What we have here is a win, win, win, win situation. It is a win for the customer, the retailer, Digital and Compaq.' Also announced on the opening day of Innovate 95 were new Compaq servers. These included the ProLiant 4500 5/133, a server using the Intel 133 MHz Pentium processor and which is scalable to four processors. The ProLiant 4500 5/133 NT/Array Model is the first of its kind to ship with SmartStart integration of Microsoft's BackOffice. The ProLiant 1500 5/133 is aimed at the departmental server market. There are also upgrade boards for the ProLiant 1500 models and ProSignia 500 and 300. The third, and possibly most important announcement made was that Compaq, Microsoft and Tandem would work together to create an industry standard for clustering. Clustering is a technology that is used to enable the resources of several computers to be linked. It is an important element in the creation of fault-tolerant, enterprise-wide systems, or systems that can be relied upon no matter what kind of disaster may befall them. This has usually been the exclusive concern of the mainframe arena and some forms of workstation, but has not been associated with PCs. The President and Chief Executive Officer of Tandem, James Treybig, said Tandem was behind most of the world's important computer systems, including the United States Navy logistics and the stock exchanges of New York, Paris, Bombay and Hong Kong. Nearly all the world's cellular phones are run on Tandem systems and most of the world's ATMs. 'Sixty per cent of the world's money moves through Tandem systems,' he said. In his keynote address at the opening of the forum, Eckhard Pfeiffer, the president and chief executive officer of Compaq, said the company was exploring a new market. 'Corporate computing - long the realm of expensive, proprietary approaches - is shifting to a new paradigm of industry standard, highly available, scalable, and affordable solutions,' he said.