EDS, Microsoft cosy up in services deal

Global services company Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Microsoft will work more closely together to deliver Microsoft-based IT systems to large corporate customers.

The strategic alliance is designed to make it easier for customers to order Microsoft-based products through EDS. It will also allow the services company to offer its customers IT systems based on the latest Microsoft software more quickly, the companies said. However, local officials said yesterday they were "yet to nut out the details" of the arrangement.

As part of the global agreement, EDS will train 7000 staff to become certified Microsoft systems engineers and solutions developers. That represents the largest single commitment from a services company to the Microsoft training programs, the companies said.

In addition, EDS will have greater access to beta versions of new Microsoft products, allowing the company to test new combinations of hardware and software before the Microsoft products are released to market. This will give EDS customers faster access to new Microsoft products, company spokesman, Blake Lewis said.

EDS will provide Microsoft with expertise in managing large-scale corporate computing infrastructures, as the companies work together to develop new enterprise applications and new and upgraded products.

As part of the agreement, the companies will also jointly develop IT systems for the financial services industry, including branch automation and credit union systems, using Microsoft products.

The joint efforts will be focused initially on Europe and the US, extending to other regions of the world over time, Lewis said.

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