Microsoft, HP ally for .Net development

Backed by a joint US$50 million investment, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. have created a technology, sales and services alliance that will promote the development of systems and applications based on .Net.

HP Monday said it will train more than 5,000 of its salespeople on .Net and will certify 3,000 employees from its services division to design, build and deploy systems based on the Web-based software platform. HP has also committed itself to forming a new group of .Net solution architects in addition to existing employees that will be trained on the software, the companies said in a statement Monday.

The announcement brings momentum to Microsoft’s broad .Net initiative, which is being designed so that companies can build Web-based applications and services as well as share data among disparate software and hardware systems. HP’s expanded relationship with Microsoft is intended to ensure that customers can turn to the Palo Alto, Calif., systems company when building systems based on .Net.

The two companies promise to create one of the world’s largest, most specialized forces of .Net consultants and system architects and will establish a worldwide sales force dedicated to selling and deploying .Net software systems on HP hardware.

The deal combines HP’s servers and infrastructure hardware products, as well as its services division, with Microsoft’s .Net initiative. Microsoft is rolling out new server software based on .Net and has already made available tools and infrastructure software for building and deploying .Net applications.

HP Monday said it has named .Net as the application platform of choice to run on its ProLiant Servers. In turn, Microsoft endorsed HP as a “worldwide prime integrator.”

In their statement, the companies pointed to General Mills Inc. as a test customer of the new hardware, software and services alliance. The global food distributor turned to HP and Microsoft to build a system that can deliver real-time data from handheld devices at about 25,000 stores to General Mills’ corporate managers. The .Net Web services platform is replacing a process that largely relied on paper documents, the companies said.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer is expected to detail the alliance Tuesday at Microsoft’s Synergy partner conference in Vienna.