Microsoft and HP CEOs to Announce Joint Investment

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard have agreed to invest together to prepare customers for "the next generation of business computing," the companies' CEOs plan to announce later Wednesday in a joint teleconference.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and HP Chairman and CEO Mark Hurd will be joined by the head of Microsoft's Server and Tools business, Bob Muglia, and the general manager of HP's Enterprise Servers and Networking business, Dave Donatelli. During the teleconference, which is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Pacific Time, they will discuss the impact of the deal on small and medium-size businesses, enterprise customers and the channel, according to an e-mail from Microsoft's public relations agency.

The announcement is related to IT infrastructure software, according to the URL for further information included in the companies' invitation to attend the teleconference. For Microsoft, IT infrastructure software includes virtualization technologies, its Forefront security tool, Windows Server and Essential Business Server.

Microsoft and HP are no strangers: In May they announced plans to invest US$180 million over four years in developing and marketing unified communications products and services together.

Developments planned under that collaboration include linking Microsoft's Office Communications Server with HP's Halo conferencing system, and improving support for OCS in HP's Business Technology Optimization software by adding real-time quality-of-service measurement for IP-based voice and video traffic.

The announcement of Wednesday's teleconference contains another sign that Microsoft and HP are opening up new communications channels together. In addition to Web conferencing software and the telephone, the companies offer a third way to participate in their conference: via Twitter. They invite people to follow the announcement and submit questions using the Twitter hash tag #HPMSFT.

However, that invitation to global participation is largely illusory. The companies have set a global limit of 10 questions to be answered during the conference call, and will decide in advance who will be allowed to ask them, an employee of Microsoft's public relations agency wrote in an e-mail.

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