HP reveals it has a soft(ware) side

HP reveals it has a soft(ware) side

Hewlett-Packard has announced the addition of Bluestone's middleware applications to its software portfolio, after finalising the acquisition of the US-based developer in January.

The middleware technology will be integrated into the Hewlett-Packard (HP) netaction suite to become the foundation of all HP e-services. The 100 per cent Java application is being sold through the same channels as HP's openview program. Its aim is to "breach the airgap" between Web services and business management.

"We remain 80 per cent dependent on the channel and we're looking to enhance that strategy with the addition of new types of partners," says Mark Wilson, national e-services business manager for HP's software business unit.

Based on JSEE and XML standards, the application is cross-platform and can be dropped into any hardware environment. Robert Nishi, marketing evangelist of the middleware solution business unit at HP, says Bluestone considered this a priority, to provide business agility in developing, integrating, deploying and managing e-services.

"Customers want to leverage whatever investments they've made in the past," he says. "We're in the software division so we don't care which platform it works on. If we can get them to run on HP platforms that's great, but our job is to provide software solutions."

"In the software world, there is a clear opportunity for any vendor that can bridge the two worlds of Java and Microsoft," says Dwight Davis, analyst for Summit Strategies.

In addition, Nishi says the scalability and performance of the software is winning business. The vendor poached the Sabre online ticketing site from competitor BEA, based on 2:1 performance. "The major killer of Web-brand loyalty is the infrastructure," says Wilson.

Hewlett-Packard is desperately trying to outgrow its image as a hardware-only vendor. Software generates $US2 billion in net global revenue for the vendor, making it the 12th largest software company worldwide. "In HP's projections there is no mention of pure hardware offerings," asserts Wilson. "HP sees software as key to its survival."

The HP netaction offering is the first joint venture since the merger of the two companies. The deal with Bluestone was a stock-for-stock transaction, with the software developer receiving 0.4866 HP shares for each of its own.

"This is a new dynamic direction for HP software and will change the future for many of our customers, says Bill Russel, vice president and general manager for HP software solutions organisation. "The integrated organisation will be quick to respond to market place conditions."

HP aims to be number one in the Australian middleware market within two years.Photograph: Hewlett-Packard's Robert Nishi

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