Amazon.com becomes a Hewlett-Packard shop

Amazon.com became one of Hewlett-Packard's top five customers last week with the announcement that the computer maker will become the primary Internet infrastructure provider to the online retail giant.

Calling the agreement a "win-win-win" situation, Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO, said in a statement that HP's "always on" infrastructure will heighten the shopping experience for Amazon customers and that customers will be able to find "all that HP has to offer at Amazon.com."

The joint agreement between HP and Amazon will replace previous support and service agreements with both Compaq Computer and Sun Microsystems, according to a source close to HP.

As part of the deal, HP will also become one of Amazon's anchor tenants, meaning that the company will get preferential exposure for its products in Amazon's Electronics Store.

The nuts and bolts of the agreement put HP in the envious position of supplying 90 percent of Amazon's applicable infrastructure requirements. Those requirements include an expanded HP role into Amazon's operations such as Internet servers and storage for the Amazon Web site, distribution and supply-chain management, and PCs for Amazon employees to use at work.

In addition, HP will support Amazon in a monitoring role to ensure that the online retail site stays up and working during peak transaction periods.

According to one HP representative, the computer maker had provided support for Amazon on a smaller project to get them through last year's peak online Christmas shopping season. Apparently, Amazon was so impressed by HP's performance that it decided to take the relationship to the next level.

Thus, HP will now supply Amazon with multiple support services that will span the entire gamut of Windows NT and Unix servers, including the recently announced A-class servers and quite possibly the new SuperDome server that will arrive from HP later this year.

Going beyond hardware, HP will provide business support right up to and including HP's highest level of support, known as Business Continuity Support, which calls for HP's on-site presence at Amazon's operations with strategies for Web site outage prevention.

"Each agreement, for infrastructure and for retail products, is strong in its own right, but together [HP and Amazon] represent a powerful strategic partnership," Carly Fiorina, president and CEO of HP, said in a statement.

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