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HP and Microsoft team up to accelerate Middle East’s adoption of .NET
Companies join forces to deliver .NET solutions to local enterprises

Dubai, December 31st, 2002 – Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have announced that there will be a local rollout of their joint $50million worldwide initiative designed to enable enterprises to connect their information, people, systems and devices through .NET and web services. The initiative builds on the longstanding relationship between the companies and combines HP’s IT infrastructure technology and services expertise with Microsoft .NET software.

The global initiative, which was rolled out earlier this year, features the training of more than 5,000 HP sales professionals on .NET, 3,000 HP professionals to be certified on .NET, in addition to the creation of a new group of .NET solution architects that will be formed by HP. Locally, HP plans to devote 30 services consultants from its HP Services unit to the effort and also train 50 people in its sales and support staff. Microsoft will additionally provide a 200-person sales and consulting team that will support HP and other companies that install and successfully deploy .NET platforms at companies throughout the region.

“This initiative integrates the strengths of both companies – thought leadership, innovation, comprehensive software and hardware platforms, and end-to-end services – to bring customers unprecedented value from their existing technology investments, said Mohammed Kateeb, Managing Director, Microsoft Middle East. “We are extremely pleased to be working with HP Middle East in ushering in the new generation of computing based on .NET.”

HP and Microsoft have jointly agreed to develop a comprehensive portfolio of solutions offerings to meet customer needs. These are tailored for the Middle East market to offer a ‘low total cost of ownership’ bringing best of breed technologies, services and hardware to customers at a very affordable cost. The solutions portfolio lowers customer risk allowing the worldwide technology leaders to manage and implement enterprise wide solutions through its joint services practice. The solutions range from communications infrastructure, server consolidation, enterprise application integration (middleware), enterprise portals and web services.
“Customers are demanding real business value from their IT investments and are looking for services and solutions to capitalize on the opportunities that .NET server products and technologies and web services present,” said Joseph Hanania, General Manager, HP Middle East. “The combined force of Microsoft and HP, which has more than two decades of recognized Microsoft expertise and leadership in IT infrastructure and services, will help corporate customers realize the benefits of .NET rapidly and effectively.”

This new initiative builds upon HP’s tradition as an industry-leading provider of IT infrastructure solutions based on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Exchange 2000 Server, BizTalk Server 2000 and other Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server products. In addition, HP provides the most comprehensive portfolio of systems and services to build and support .NET solutions worldwide. HP has become, as a result of the initiative, Microsoft’s first “worldwide prime integrator.”

About HP
HP is a leading global provider of products, technologies, solutions and services to consumers and businesses. The company’s offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. HP completed its merger transaction involving Compaq Computer Corp. on May 3, 2002. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com. HP has been present in the Middle East since 1968, and opened its Dubai based regional office in 1997 and has offices in Dubai, Ramallah, Cairo, Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar servicing the GCC, the Levant and Egypt. For more information about HP in the Middle East, please visit www.hp.com/middleeast.

About Microsoft Corporation
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. Microsoft opened its Dubai-based Middle East office in 1991, headquartered at Dubai Internet City and is responsible for all aspects of the company’s business in the region, covering UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt and Pakistan. Microsoft Corporation's address on the World Wide Web is: www.microsoft.com Microsoft Middle East's Web site is: www.microsoft.com/middleeast. Microsoft, Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

For further information contact:

Agency Contact:                                         Microsoft Contact:
Robin Duff/ Prem Ramachandran                     Aimee Peters
ASDA’A Public Relations                                Microsoft Middle East – South Gulf
Dubai, UAE                                                 Dubai, UAE
Tel : 00-9714-3344550                                 Tel : 00-9714 – 3917246
Fax : 00-9714-3344556                                Fax : 00-9714 – 3971001
E-mail: info@asdaa.com                               E-mail: i-aimeep@microsoft.com


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