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HP Launches Service Options for Small Biz

Hewlett-Packard today is expected to rev-up a small-business initiative it began last September dubbed Smart Office that includes new products, support services, and financing options.

Some aspects of the Smart Office campaign, such as the introductions of the nx5000 notebook and the Proliant ML110 server, have been trickling out in recent weeks. Others, such as an online service that remotely monitors server maintenance, are making their debut this week.

HP chairman and chief executive officer Carly Fiorina launched Smart Office last September, noting that it was backed by a $750 million investment in R&D, marketing, sales programs and services. The small-and-medium business segment accounts for about $21 billion of HP's $73 billion annual revenue.

Of all the new offerings, the most significant are the service offerings. They reflect a push by HP, Dell, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and other vendors to offer service and support options that are better packaged for small-business consumption. Just last month, Dell told SmallBiz Pipeline that it will begin offering end-to-end service contracts later this year to mid-sized companies and would offer similar contracts to small businesses soon thereafter. Also last month, HP signed on systems integrator Ajilon Consulting to provide service offerings to small- and medium-sized businesses in 40 locations nationwide. The deal with the Towson, Maryland, integrator is part of the .NET Solutions Partner Program HP rolled out in October.

HP's new service offerings this week include Proactive Plus, software support for Microsoft operating systems and compatible applications; Proliant System Minder, which provides server administration, remote monitoring, and software patches; and IT Professional Help Desk, support service for IT workers.

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