HP-Compaq union connected to Alpha-Intel deal?

Mike Magee over at The Inq is raising some questions I wondered about myself when the HP-Compaq deal was announced. (Thanks to Rand for the heads up.) Didn't this one come awfully close after Compaq agreed to sell off its Alpha unit to Intel? Mike frames it like so:
Because only a matter of days separated the ceding of Alpha technology to Intel and the beginning of merger discussions between Compaq and HP, this raises some highly uncomfortable questions - questions we hope that customers, shareholders and regulatory authorities will not neglect to ask.
Of course, the sale of the Alpha unit to Intel eliminated a formidable competitor to the Itanium chips, which were co-developed by Intel and HP. It is difficult to believe—and Mike sets this up better than I can—that the two deals came so close together, yet were entirely unconnected.

So what if they were connected? I really don't know. Certainly somewhere along the line there was some deception on the part of the prinicipals involved, especially at Compaq. Did anyone break the law? I can't say, but that seems like a very legitmate question to be asking right about now.

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