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Long-time collaborators Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard extended their relationship to the cloud Friday with a four-year initiative through which they will offer enterprises and governments communication and collaboration tools via public and private cloud services—and hybrid clouds services.
Under the deal, HP (NYSE:HPQ) will become a reseller of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office 365, the cloud-based version Microsoft's signature Office productivity suite, while Microsoft will use HP's cloud data centers to deliver a number of its solutions as services, including Exchange Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010.
"Microsoft is committed to putting the unique and ever-evolving needs of customers at the core of cloud innovation," said Mark Hill, vice president of the Enterprise Partner Group at Microsoft. "This alliance with HP not only broadens Microsoft's geographic reach, it gives customers maximum flexibility to choose a cloud computing solution that meets their organization's specialized messaging and collaboration needs."
On the private cloud front, HP solutions—Enterprise Cloud Services-Messaging, Enterprise Cloud Services-Collaboration and Enterprise Cloud Services-Real-Time Collaboration—will be used to deliver Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2010 and Lync Server 2010 as a service from HP's data centers.
Microsoft will continue to deliver its Office 365 collaboration and productivity tools through the public cloud using its own data centers, but the two partners also agreed on a hybrid cloud solution, under which HP will resell Office 365 with HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Messaging, Enterprise Cloud Services-Collaboration and Enterprise Cloud Services-Real-Time Collaboration.
"Large organizations, particularly those in regulated industries like financial services and public sector, have been demanding functionality and service level requirements," said Brandt Faatz, vice president of Workplace Services at HP Enterprise Services. "HP and Microsoft help meet these needs with a flexible range of global, cost-efficient, cloud-based productivity solutions running on the latest technology."
The partners plan to launch the solutions globally. They will initially deploy them in Australia, Canada, the UK and US this month. The global rollout will follow.
Office 365 has already proven to be highly popular with small business, according to Microsoft. Last week, Microsoft claimed that Office 365 is on track to become one of the fastest growing offers in its history, and 90 percent of adopters so far are from the small business crowd. But the Redmond, Wash.-based software behemoth also wants to capture the enterprise with its services offering.
Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.