Compaq Computer has an image problem, say its senior executives. Vice-president Mike Winkler says the world's second-largest computer maker is working to overcome a shaky end to the 1990s. It saw focus and profitability slip away as the company tried to digest the multi-billion dollar acquisitions of Tandem and Digital Equipment. 'When we did research on our brand we found that people had no idea what Compaq was any more,' Mr Winkler said during a visit to Hong Kong. 'They did not understand it as a PC company and they certainly did not understand what its capabilities are.' Facing that identity crisis and being described as a 'beached whale' by financial analysts, Compaq has been trying to get back into the water. But it will not be an easy journey. Chief executive Michael Capellas has urged his senior managers to 'take it to the streets' and tell people the company was back on its feet with a new attitude and a passion for innovation. Compaq says it has turned the corner and is once again on the upswing. Second-quarter results show a US$387 million profit, compared with a US$184 million loss a year earlier. Even the slumping commercial PC division is making money again - with a US$62 million return. Operating expenses have been slashed and the bureaucracy cut. Since Mr Capellas moved into the chief executive's position from the chief information officer's chair in July last year, there has been steady improvement in Compaq's bottom line. Now the company is feeling confident again, and wants to get back to business. 'Compaq is done apologising,' Mr Winkler said. 'We want to come out and get on with running the company.' Mr Winkler said Mr Capellas' 'gadget geek' personality had rekindled the spirit of innovation and led Compaq to realise that building the same 'beige boxes' everyone else built was the road to ruin. 'Mr Capellas loves the technology and that has renewed the passion for innovation,' Mr Winkler said. Well-known for his interest in the latest gizmos, Mr Capellas has jokingly claimed to have every gadget Compaq makes stuffed into his briefcase. Mr Winkler says getting established at the forefront of the 'third generation' of computer products will be the key to Compaq's revival. The new line of Net-oriented iPaq products and gadgets, such as a hand-held e-mail paging system that Compaq manufactures in partnership with Canadian firm Research in Motion, was an example of what consumers should expect. Compaq also is working with Microsoft on its Net wireless strategy, and intends to beef up its image as a dominant force on the Internet. 'We may not get the press that Sun Microsystems gets, but I will tell you there are a hell of a lot more Compaq servers running the Web than there are Sun,' Mr Winkler said. 'We are far more the dot in dotcom than they could ever think of being.' However, it will take more than reassuring words and enthusiasm from Compaq's senior executives to get the company back on track. A customer satisfaction review released last week by Technology Business Research showed Compaq's desktop and mobile products were in significant decline in the past few months. The study showed Compaq scored below the industry average for the ratings on product design, configuration, reliability and pricing. Satisfaction with the company's desktops fell by almost 4 per cent while satisfaction with notebooks fell 7 per cent. Technology Business Research considers a movement of anything more than 2.75 per cent to be a significant change in the way people view a company.