Hewlett Packard has been forced to spend hundreds of millions ofacilities to clinch Unisys outsourcing contract. dollars improving its build-to-order facilities worldwide to seal an extended hardware outsourcing agreement with Unisys.
As revealed in PC Dealer, Unisys pulled out of the PC manufacturing business in January 1998 to concentrate on high-end servers and services. It subsequently awarded an exclusive PC hardware OEM contract to HP (PC Dealer, 1 April 1998).
This deal has been expanded under a joint programme - dubbed Partner Plus - which was announced last week.
Unisys will go to market with HP-branded PCs and low-end servers and in return has been named as HP's preferred service provider for large government departments and enterprise accounts in the finance, telecoms and airline industries.
Bert Schaap, vice president of sales at Unisys, told PC Dealer that Unisys had 'pushed' HP to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to develop its build-to-order capabilities before awarding it preferred supplier status.
But he conceded that investment would not guarantee HP exclusive access to Unisys' customer base.
'We are vendor independent and will provide whatever the customer wants.
But if the customer shows no preference, we will supply HP,' Schaap said.
Schaap also played down concerns that Unisys' alliance with HP could affect its position as a Dell service provider. 'We were one of two service partners appointed by Dell last year to specifically deliver warranty and repair services to its global customer base, but we are also a service provider for HP.'
He added: 'I had a meeting with Dell officials and they were absolutely fine about us working with HP in this way.'
Schaap claimed that Dell's direct sales strategy precluded it from entering into such an arrangement.
Eric Cador, vice president and general manager of the business desktop division at HP, dismissed suggestions the alliance with Unisys would cause conflict with other HP resellers and its own services organisation.
'This agreement only affects really high-end enterprise accounts where there is almost no channel business. HP's service division has not been focused on the finance, telecoms and airline industries so there won't be much overlap there either.'
He added: 'We are looking to broaden our market opportunities, not move existing business from one pocket to another.'
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