HP, IBM Roll Out the Hardware

Wednesday Oct 6th 2004 by Clint Boulton
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HP upgrades its Smart Office strategy as IBM unveils new Unix servers for small to mid-sized businesses.

NEW YORK -- HP ratcheted up its small and mid-sized business (SMB) effort Tuesday, introducing a raft of new hardware at TechXNY 2004 as part of its Smart Office plan. Meanwhile, rival IBM, also appealed to SMBs, unveiling new Unix servers.

Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president and general manager of SMB at HP, led other officials from the Palo Alto, Calif., company in introducing new printers, storage devices and services for work groups of 100 or fewer people.

The event comes nearly a year after HP introduced Smart Office, a $750 million initiative to fill small businesses and departments of large businesses with low-cost HP gear.

Gilroy also outlined a new security assessment service and financing options.

"Since taking over the job some 60 days ago, I took a look at that strategy and thought maybe I'd throw that out," Gilroy told attendees. "But after taking a look at that strategy, I am absolutely committed to it."

Gilroy said Smart Office has enabled the company to sell 13.6 million printers, 4.8 million desktops, 1.7 million notebooks and 623,000 servers since the program debuted last September, propelling HP'sSMB sales to $23 billion.

Competition Fierce for SMB Dollars
But he admitted HP would like to fare better in the United States, where competition is fierce from strong rivals such as IBM and Dell, both of whom have good track records and throw a lot of resources to cater to smaller companies.

The market is ripe for growth, according to Forrester Research, with SMBs planning to increase their IT spending for 2004 by 6.6 percent over 2003, compared with a 1.7 percent increase among larger companies.

The executive's message was a familiar one: HP wants to help solve customers' business problems by helping them spend less time worrying about technology. To do this, he said HP is "weaving a tapestry of horizontal solutions" to cover all of the bases in a small business environment.

This includes six new LaserJet printers, three business inkjets, three all-in-ones, digital projectors, as well as the first gigabit print server, the Jetdirect 625n Gigabit Ethernet print server, which increases network bandwidth and costs $389.

Some of the new printers include the following: Business Inkjet 1200, which as HP's lowest running cost color printer, comes with automatic two-sided printing for $200; Officejet 7410 All-in-One, featuring built-in wireless networking and remote printing for $499; LaserJet 4350, as HP's fastest single-function workgroup printer for $1,649; and the Color LaserJet 5550 printer for $3,549.

Businesses would be sunk without reliable storage, so HP debuted the StorageWorks NAS 500s Storage Server, which is geared for file sharing, print services, application storage services and Microsoft Exchange hosting. HP is selling this for $2,249. Also, for $2,000 the new iSCSI Feature Pack allows customers to use Ethernet to migrate to networked storage.

To safeguard U.S. and Canadian customers' computing efforts, HP security experts will provide the new Security Vulnerability assessment for SMBs. This service can be purchased from HP or a reseller at a six-month special $1,495 through April 30.

Gilroy also described new joint programs with Microsoft, Avaya, Intuit and SAP to help channel partners better deliver hardware, software and services for SMBs. HP has 210,000 channel partners worldwide.

IBM Expresses Itself
In related SMB hardware news, IBM released two new Unix-based machines from its Power5 line that cost less without skimping on performance. Launched under the Express banner, the eServer p5-520 and p5-550 Express cost $3,993 and $7,050, respectively.

An optional pricing plan exists for the new machines, as mid-sized customers can take advantage of 36-month leasing options from IBM Global Finance that start at $99 per month on selected servers.

Article originally appeared on Internetnews.com.

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