Hewlett-Packard and Oracle plan to jointly develop and provide Oracle Internet software for the HP hardware platform, the companies' chief executive officers announced last week.
The companies will link sales staffs via the Internet, marketing and selling across company lines, according to HP's recently appointed CEO, Carly Fiorina, and Oracle's CEO, Larry Ellison.
The wide-ranging deal further includes an agreement that HP will use and sell Oracle's customer relationship management (CRM) software suite and that Oracle will make e-commerce applications for HP's version of Unix.
Both regard CRM as a key market. "We are addressing CRM because it's the fastest growing in the market today, growing three times as fast as the overall market," said Fiorina.
Oracle also will use HP systems internally for CRM and e-mail applications.
HP in turn intends to expand its CRM consulting service to include Oracle software sold for HP systems.
Ellison said that the use of CRM is becoming increasingly important for businesses seeking to expand their operations over the Internet.
"By using technology and the Internet and specifically CRM, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle are going after this market together," Ellison said. "Our marketing, sales and services will all be delivered by HP and Oracle together.
"Oracle is going to market all CRM software with HP hardware and we're not doing that with anyone else."
One analyst said that the alliance broadens the appeal of both companies.
"It broadens the dedicated sales channels for Oracle and gives Hewlett-Packard a strong product," said Peggy Menconi, research director of CRM for AMR Research.
"The Oracle suite covers the front and back-office applications running on the HP platform," she said.