Microsoft, HP Form .Net Alliance

New $60 million joint initiative is a response to customer demand for .Net solutions and Web services.

Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Monday announced an alliance around Microsofts .Net initiative, linking the two companies in development and consulting deals for .Net-based applications and Web services.

Microsoft officials said the new initiative between the two companies represents an investment of $60 million.

"Microsoft and HP announced a new $60 million joint initiative designed to enable enterprises to reach new levels of business agility and competitive advantage through .Net and Web services," a Microsoft spokesman said. "The initiative was launched in response to customer demand for .Net solutions and Web services, and in doing so, HP has created one of the worlds largest, most specialized forces of .Net consultants and systems architects to integrate solutions across global enterprises. The initiative builds on the long-standing relationship between the companies and combines HPs IT infrastructure technology and services expertise and Microsoft .Net software."

Microsoft officials said the Redmond, Wash., software giant will train more than 5,000 HP salespeople on .Net, and more than 3,000 HP services professionals are expected to be certified on .Net. In addition, HP plans to create a new group of engineers steeped in .Net solutions to help sell and promote .Net-based applications, the company said.

In addition, Microsoft recognized HP as a "worldwide prime integrator" for .Net solutions.

Meanwhile, the companies said they jointly delivered a .Net-based solution to General Mills International Inc. using a Web services framework to pull real-time data from 25,000 stores.

Microsoft officials said HP has a history of supporting and deploying Microsoft technology, including Windows 2000 Server, Exchange 2000 Server and BizTalk Server 2000.

"Customers are demanding real business value from their IT investments and are looking for services and solutions to capitalize on the opportunities that .Net and Web services present," Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP Services, said in a statement. "The combined force of Microsoft and HP, which has more than two decades of recognized Microsoft expertise and leadership in IT infrastructure and services, will help corporate customers realize the benefits of .Net rapidly and effectively."

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