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IBM-HP Rivalry Heats Up

IBM made a bigger incursion than usual at this year's HP World--a trade show for thousands of Hewlett-Packard Co. customers, equipment resellers and companies whose technologies work on HP computer systems.

IBM traditionally has a booth at HP World to display software that runs on HP systems. But at the August show in Atlanta, Big Blue urged attendees to depart HP World for a seminar about IBM's own systems, sweetening the offer with a drawing for a free convertible.

Meanwhile, IBM marketers drove around the Georgia World Congress Center handing out Lego building blocks to brag about the toy company's decision that week to replace HP computing systems with IBM products.

In a rivalry with big implications for these two U.S. technology stalwarts--and for the companies, schools and governments that spend billions on their products--IBM is doing its utmost to keep HP a wannabe.

HP picked this fight last year when it bought Compaq Computer Corp. for $19 billion, the biggest high-tech acquisition ever, and said it would challenge IBM's lead in lucrative corporate computing markets.

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