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HP to reschedule tech conference

Hewlett-Packard is working to reschedule its HP Technology Forum 2005, which was slated for next week in New Orleans.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Hewlett-Packard is working to reschedule its HP Technology Forum 2005, which was slated for next week in New Orleans.

The computing giant hopes to hold the event sometime this fall and plans to announce new details by Friday. HP had been expecting 40,000 attendees at the event, and would like the same number or more once the event is rescheduled, a company spokesman said.

The company advised people who had registered for the forum to cancel their airline reservations. In the meantime, the computer maker is working with major airlines to transfer any nonrefundable tickets to routes that will serve the rescheduled conference, according to a posting on HP's Web site.

HP is also extending its Forum 2005 cancellation policy indefinitely and is automatically canceling, without penalty, all existing hotel reservations that were booked through its conference Web site.

The forum, a technical training event, had several HP heavy hitters lined up as keynote speakers, including Mark Hurd, chief executive officer, and Shane Robison, chief strategy and technology officer.

For Hurd, the event would have been one of his first major addresses to HP users since the company announced a major restructuring in July and since he came aboard HP in March. Hurd was hired to strengthen HP's operations following the ouster of Carly Fiorina and has focused on improving the company's financial performance through layoffs and realignment of its sales team.