Compaq deal with US postal service may be worth billions

Compaq Computer Corp. last Friday announced the signing of a major contract with the US Postal Service (USPS) which could be worth billions of US dollars, according to a Compaq spokesperson.

Due to kick off at the end of the first quarter, the contract will allow the mail carrier's 800,000 staff to each buy up to two Compaq Presario Internet PCs for home use over the life of the three-year deal, according to Barbara Crystal, Compaq spokesperson.

"The deal is huge; if you figure a PC costs $1,000, it runs into billions of dollars," Crystal said. Although Compaq has signed similar employee deals in the past, the company has yet to do "anything of this magnitude," she said.

The USPS staff will be able to choose how they want their Compaq desktop or notebook PCs configured using a customized Web site or a toll-free phone number. They will also be able to choose from a variety of Internet services, Crystal said.

Compaq will develop a customized news and information portal so that USPS staff can securely access the U.S. Postal Service's intranet via a VPN (virtual private network). The computer vendor is also talking with ISPs (Internet service providers) to ensure that USPS staff will pay reduced rates for Net access.

USPS, based in Washington, D.C., couldn't be reached for comment.

Compaq's relationship with the USPS dates back to 1979 and has covered a range of Compaq products from desktops through to servers, according to Crystal. During the last six years, Compaq has shipped more than $1 billion of its computers and services to USPS.

Compaq, in Houston, can be reached at +1-281-370-0670 or via the Internet at http://www.compaq.com/. USPS, based in Washington, D.C., can be reached via the Internet at http://www.usps.gov/.

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