HP aims at direct sales

Hewlett-Packard Co. is seeking to increase its direct commercial sales with the Thursday release of a catalog showcasing its products for small- and medium-size businesses.

Intended to be mailed quarterly and initially sent to more than 2 million businesses, the catalog highlights products including desktop and notebook PCs, servers, handhelds, printers, software, and storage and security technologies. Interested customers are offered several channels for buying products, including resellers and HP's Web site.

A desire to increase direct sales to business customers was an oft-stated factor in Hewlett-Packard Co.'s contentious decision to acquire Compaq Computer Corp.

HP's own PC sales model was "competitively disadvantaged," the company said in a December report issued to build shareholder support for the deal, pointing to Compaq's direct-distribution PC business as one of Compaq's strengths.

Interested customers can subscribe to HP's catalog at