American Express to buy 25,000 Compaq systems

American Express has signed a deal with Compaq Computer to buy 25,000 thin-client machines to replace existing desktop and laptop computers throughout the company.

In an announcement today, the New York-based financial services company said it had reached a five-year deal with Compaq that includes hardware, services and support. The contract is valued in the tens of millions of dollars, but the companies didn't release an exact figure.

Tony Mitchell, a spokesman for Amex, said the thin-client systems will replace existing desktop and laptop machines for employees who don't have to be mobile to do their work, including customer service representatives. The deal was reached after a competitive review process, said Mitchell, but the names of the competing vendors weren't released.

By buying thin-client systems, which don't include components such as hard drives, Amex can save money on technology while still providing up-to-date equipment for workers, Mitchell said. Data from the thin clients is stored and processed in the servers, which are linked together in an infrastructure that saves money and system deployment time.

Jack Sunderlage, vice president of global accounts for Compaq's Western region, said such cost savings can typically amount to 20 percent to 30 percent for companies choosing thin clients over desktops and laptops.

The Amex deal includes Compaq's model T1010 Windows-based thin clients and ProLiant servers running Intel Xeon processors. Houston-based Compaq Global Services will handle installation, configuration and support for the system.

About 80 percent of the units will be installed in the U.S., while the rest will be deployed in Amex facilities in Europe, South America and Asia.

"Adopting Compaq's server-based computing and thin-client solution supports our overall strategy of using technology that can reduce infrastructure costs, re-engineer our computing environment and bring operational savings to the bottom line," Glen Salow, an executive vice president and CIO at Amex, said in a statement.

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