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Microsoft, HP Enter Into Maintenance Alliance

March 20, 1997|From Associated Press

Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. went after a bigger piece of the lucrative office technology a lucrative market Wednesday with a plan to ease the cost and headache of maintaining a corporation's computers.

A key part of the alliance centers on HP's greater support to Windows NT, Microsoft's industrial-strength operating system, which runs on different types of computers and is increasingly popular among big companies.

The companies also agreed to work closely on a wide range of products and programs to help businesses maintain computers more easily and cheaply, including joint consulting and a combination of technologies.

In addition, Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard announced plans for a NetPC, a simplified, low-cost computer than Microsoft and chip maker Intel Corp. are proposing for corporations. The new computers, starting at $1,000, are expected on the market in the second half of the year.

HP Chairman Lewis Platt said the partnership combines strengths of both companies: Microsoft's powerful Windows NT program and influence in the desktop market with Hewlett-Packard's experience selling computers to corporations and its highly regarded customer support.

Industry analysts said the companies' plans should give Windows NT a boost as corporations choose it for their computers, often different kinds of machines within the same company.

"Customers need a way to make this (stuff) work together," said Kimball Brown, an analyst with market researcher Dataquest Inc. in San Jose. "I think this will help NT dramatically."

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., is the world's largest producer of software. Its Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 are the programs that control the basic functions of the vast majority of personal computers.

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