December 3, 1996 6:15 PM ET

HP kicks off electronic business initiative
By Maria Seminerio and Tom Schmidt

  Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Electronic Business Framework announcement today, including news of technology alliances with heavyweights Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and Netscape Communications Corp., is the fruit of a year-old effort to position HP's Internet products as a crucial element of the corporate desktop.

The company's previously announced "Extended Enterprise" computing strategy calls for providing Web technologies and services ranging from data management, security and messaging systems to servers, printers and scanners, all aimed at jump-starting online commerce and banking, HP officials said at the Electronic Business Framework launch today in San Jose, Calif.

Together, the Electronic Business Framework and the Extended Enterprise strategy focus on Internet technology as "the great leveler to improve productivity internally through intranets, with business partners through 'extranets' and in the electronic marketplace," said Dick Watts, vice president and general manager of HP's Computer Systems Organization.

HP will work with Microsoft and chip giant Intel Corp. on the NetPC initiative, which is targeted at lowering corporations' cost of ownership for PCs via features such as remote software installation, said officials of the two companies. HP will focus on bringing hardware-management instrumentation, Web-based management capabilities and enterprise desktop management services to the NetPC desktop, HP officials said.

HP will roll out its own NetPC-based device sometime next year, the officials said.

HP's alliance with Netscape calls for the companies to develop business-to-business and consumer electronic commerce solutions in collaboration with Actra Business Systems, Netscape's joint venture with GE Information Systems.

HP, Oracle, Open Market Inc. and Visa will work together on electronic payment solutions, said officials of the companies. HP and VeriFone Inc. will also develop and sell Internet payment services based on the Visa/MasterCard SET (Secure Electronic Transaction) protocol. Specifically, HP and VeriFone will participate in worldwide SET trials, deliver secure Internet payment services for financial institutions and create secure Internet payment packages tailored for merchants.

The Electronic Business Framework comprises a suite of services including customer service, process management, online banking, security, consulting, support and outsourcing assistance, HP officials said. It also includes the Palo Alto, Calif., company's Internet Marketing framework for delivering customized product and service information online to customers and business partners, its AdminFlow framework for deploying business functions online and its Smart Contact telephony-based customer service offerings.

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