Google taps HP to sell Google Apps, hardware bundle

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On Wednesday, Hewlett-Packard and Google debuted an IT solution for small- and medium-size businesses that are looking to eliminate complexity and cut costs. The new offering bundles HP's PC hardware with Google's Google Apps services.

It's so simple, the companies said, that HP is calling it "HP SMB IT in a Box," combining PCs and printers with the Google Apps suite of productivity services. It's all tied up with a thin layer of HP management software, designed to virtually eliminate oversight, and help keep setup to a minimum. The new program will roll out in July via HP's reseller network, HP said.

HP announced the new program as part of its Discover conference in Las Vegas, aimed at businesses from SMBs up through the enterprise. "What this venture is designed to do," said HP chief executive Meg Whitman, "is to help simplify the customer's IT environment," for those small-to-medium sized businesses that adopt Google Apps, Computerworld reported.

Extending reach

Strategically, the partnership broadens HP's relationships with Google. Although HP has long been a partner of Microsoft, HP has apparently felt that it's worth hedging its bets. While HP supported Windows 8 with a bevy of laptops, it's also announced a pair of Chromebooks, the laptops that run Google's Chrome OS and provide direct links to Google services. HP announced its first Chromebook this past spring for $330, but also followed it up recently with the Pavilion 14, a $299 version that reinforces the company's commitment to Google's services.

Google, for its part, can tap into HP's extensive relationships with businesses of all stripes, pushing ahead in its bid to oust Microsoft's Office suite from the enterprise. HP is now a Google Apps for Business reseller. More than 5 million businesses currently run on Google Apps for Business, according to Google; Google Apps services include Gmail, IM, Calendar, Drive, Docs

Over time, IT In a Box will include integrated consoles for resellers, IT administrators and end users, allowing easy access to the entire solution including Google Apps for Business, HP said.

“HP recognizes the constantly evolving needs of SMB customers in today’s dynamic business environment,” said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager of  Consumer PCs and Solutions for HP, in a statement. “Together with HP’s channel partners, we will offer our customers an incredible bundle of PCs, printers and Google Apps for Business, enabling business owners to focus on their customers instead of worrying about IT.”

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