New HP hardware to further its "e-services"

Hewlett-Packard will take the next step in positioning itself as a provider of what it calls "e-services" this week when it unveils its next-generation hardware platform designed to shoulder the e-commerce load.

In a press conference to be held tomorrow, HP will detail the new N-Class server - Unix-based servers that will be positioned squarely against IBM's successful AS/400 line of midrange solutions - according to sources.

While the ostensible purpose of the new line of servers will be to facilitate e-commerce and e-services, the systems will also be suited for data warehousing, enterprise resource planning and integrated supply-chain solutions.

HP is currently undergoing a massive reorganisation, spinning off its test and measurement division last month, and breaking up its existing computer businesses into four autonomous groups. The N-Class server will fall under the purview of the Enterprise Computing Solutions business, headed up by Ann Livermore.

Platt is also expected to announce a raft of services and support around the platform that will include strategic alliances with other e-commerce providers, according to sources.

Under HP's new structure, the company is hoping to be more nimble and aggressive in addressing Internet issues facing businesses today.

Hewlett-Packard officials declined to comment on unannounced products.

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