Compaq, Cable & Wireless partner on ASP venture

Compaq Computer and Cable & Wireless yesterday announced a partnership in which the two will function together as an application service provider (ASP), offering products and services to small and mid-size businesses.

The two companies together will pony up about $US500 million in investments toward the effort. Compaq will extend $200 million in products, services and development. Cable & Wireless' investment in the partnership will include $100 million to enhance service offerings and $100 million to build out 20 data centres.

"The big breakthrough here is economics," said Graham Wallace, group chief executive of Cable & Wireless. "The cost of connectivity has come down, especially since we have put almost all of the applications on the network rather than the desktop. That makes enormous sense and makes something like this a real proposition for the first time."

The partnership provides specifically for application software hosted in Cable & Wireless hosting centres, which will run on Compaq platforms. Cable & Wireless will provide connectivity on its IP backbone network, which the company claims it has enhanced significantly since it purchased the network from MCI Worldcom.

Compaq will also offer client access devices including PCs and handhelds.

Officials said specific services and pricing information will not be available or detailed until next month.

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