Continental, OTOH, does have a lot of long-haul non-stops out of IAH, and they've no doubt spent a lot of money in expanding the facilities. I don't think they'd want to move back to HOU and besides, there's no room for them to do that anyway.
So if the 2 merged, you'd have a Continental-Southwest with heavy operations out of both IAH and HOU, and I just don't think it would work.
I could see an alliance between the two, maybe. From what I've read, Herb and Gordon get along pretty well. I think Southwest and Continental go out of their way to notcompete with each other too much. Look at CLE. Southwest has 4 gates there, yet they only have 23 departures a day. They could easily add another 15-20 departures a day but they haven't. At IAH, Southwest only flies 7 times a day to DAL. At DAL, Southwest has about 35 flights a day, but only 7 to IAH. Coninental has 12-14 flights per day from DAL-IAH and none to HOU. The two co-exist very nicely together, with each offering a different product. They don't fight with each other, they don't try to undercut each other's fares, and they don't sue each other in court at the drop of a hat. I have the utmost respect for Continental and Southwest for that very reason. It's too bad that some other AAirlines haven't learned how to do that.
I say keep them separate, but maybe have an alliance. No merger, though, please. I'd rather be able to pick from 2 good airlines instead of 1.