In a move that's likely to ruffle Microsoft 's feathers, Hewlett-Packard is partnering with Google on the productivity apps front. HP on Tuesday announced the first phase of HP SMB IT in a Box, which it bills as a "one-stop shop" technology solution for small and medium business (SMB) customers.
Forwarding the new program meant HP becoming a Google Apps Reseller. The initial result: HP SMB IT in a Box combines HP's hardware -- including PCs and printers -- with Google Apps for Business, a suite of cloud -based communication and collaboration tools that competes with Microsoft Office.
Recognizes the "constantly evolving needs of SMB customers in today's dynamic business environment," Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager of Consumer PCs and Solutions at HP, said the company would work with its channel partners to offer customers a "bundle of PCs, printers and Google Apps for Business, enabling business owners to focus on their customers instead of worrying about IT."
Will SMBs Buy?
Although the numbers hardly compare to Microsoft's Office dominance, Google Apps for Business has made inroads in the cloud era. In fact, more than 5 million businesses currently run on the software suite, which includes Gmail, IM, Calendar, Drive, Docs and other apps.
HP's spin, though, is SMBs. HP explained it is tapping into Google's cloud-based apps to help simplify the IT environment and reduce operating costs and infrastructure requirements for SMBs. HP is also positioning the new product as a way to improve workflows and workforce productivity.
Affirming HP's reasoning -- and reinforcing its own -- Amit Singh, president at Google Enterprise, said, "By moving to the cloud and helping employees work the way they live, SMBs can serve their customers better -- and save money in the process."
Seeking Profitable Alliances
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said the HP-Google partnership is potentially a smart move for the PC giant. (continued...)