HP, IBM Chosen for Delta's 'Wired Workforce'

SAN MATEO (03/01/2000) - In a big win for both Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp., Delta Air Lines Inc. on Tuesday announced that is has chosen the two computer makers to offer discounted PCs and laptop computers, as well as Internet connections, to its more than 72,000 worldwide employees, according to officials for the airline.

For a flat monthly fee of $12, Delta employees will have their choice of either a HP Pavilion Desktop PC or an IBM ThinkPad I-series notebook.

The decision by Delta is part of its "Wired Workforce" program, which is using PeoplePC, a San Francisco-based Internet service company, to broker both the hardware and the Internet connection for Delta employees that decide to take part in the program.

The program, scheduled to begin this July, lets Delta employees take the computers home for both business and personal use, according to a representative for PeoplePC. The Internet connection will provide a co-branded home page for both People PC and Delta, where employees can log on to the airlines Intranet.

The program is the same as PeoplePC's direct consumer program, which spreads the $12 payments over three years with the option to upgrade or simply to keep the computer after the duration.

"The deal is good, but the real issue is one of manageability," said Ken Dulany, an analyst at Gartner Group, in Stanford, Conn. "If [Delta] lets its employees start mixing business and personal data, that's going to become difficult to manage. It's an IT managers worst nightmare, having the corporate software image morphing in every different way. That's going to be the real challenge for Delta."

Delta Airlines, in Atlanta, is at www.deltaairlines.com. Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, Calif., is at www.hp.com. IBM Corp., in Armonk, N.Y., is at www.ibm.com. PeoplePC Inc., in San Francisco, is at www.peoplepc.com.

Dan Neel is an InfoWorld reporter.

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