Microsoft and HP link up under People-Ready flag

Giants earmark US$300m for joint solutions

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By  Published  December 23, 2006

Microsoft and HP are exp- anding their long-standing partnership and investing at least US$300million over the next three years in developing and promoting joint solutions for enterprise customers. Under the terms of the agreement, the industry heavywei- ghts will collaborate on solution development, testing, validation, deployment, and joint sales and marketing under Microsoft’s People-Ready Business banner. “Through our collaboration with HP, our more than 20,000 joint customers will have access to an expanded set of solutions and services to tackle their most pressing business problems,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the Technology Solutions Group (TSG) at HP, added: “Extending our strategic alliance with Microsoft further strengthens HP’s enterprise strategy, which is focused on empowering CIOs to align IT with business by delivering more cost-effective, scalable, secure ways of enhancing employee productivity.” The partnership has been viewed as a way for Microsoft to build up enterprise support for its recently released Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchan- ge Server 2007 — current collaborations include HP support for Office and Exchange Server — and as a way for both firms to better challenge rival IBM. “Microsoft now views IBM as much more of a competitor going forward than a partner and it looks like they are shifting their attention away from IBM services and toward HP’s,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst with technology consulting firm Enderle Group, told the IDG News Service. “With HP now moving ahead of IBM, I think Microsoft feels comfortable partnering with HP more aggressively.” Microsoft and HP will focus on five areas they see showing strong demand and potential for high growth going forward. These are messaging and unified communications, collaboration and content management, business intelligence, business process integration and core infrastructure. IDC estimated the software markets alone in business intelligence, collaboration, content management and infrastructure software running on Windows, would be a US$49 billion market in 2007. The research firm said that if communications, hardware and services were added in, the market would easily be worth over US$100 billion. “This agreement means that the two companies and their combined ecosystems have an opportunity to bring complete solutions to their customers in these critical areas,” commented John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. As part of the deal, HP will create a dedicated Microsoft solutions practice with the task of designing, developing and launching Microsoft-specific products. The California, US, firm has earmarked over 22,000 employees to work on the project and said that this would grow to more than 30,000 over the next three years. HP will also set up a programme to train its employees on the software giant’s solutions, which the company said would result in more than 3,000 newly-trained Microsoft consultants.

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