Microsoft and HP have announced a wide-ranging partnership to simplify IT for customers through close integration of their respective technology stacks, including joint engineering, marketing and services efforts.In a joint conference call, the two companies announced a three-year agreement to invest US$250m ($269m) to deliver a deeply integrated IT stack for business applications and build what they call a next-generation infrastructure-to-application model based on cloud computing.However, specific details were sometimes unclear in a conference call that was heavy on industry buzzwords and vague promises, while some participants on the call said they felt the move was simply a reaction to the partnership announced last year by Cisco, VMware and EMC.As part of the move, the two firms said they will integrate respective technologies such as virtualisation and management tools, and will also offer pre-integrated solutions.The new partnership will be a "big win for customers", according to HP and Microsoft, who will be able to deploy IT infrastructure faster and at lower cost."It's time for us to align our enterprise businesses – the largest software company and the largest technology company in the world working together," said HP chief executive Mark Hurd.He added that the US$250m, which is on top of existing investments between the two firms, is "worth it for what we can do for customers, making technology as close to plug and play as possible".Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said the two companies have worked together extensively in the past, and there is already "strong alignment" on stacks.The new infrastructure-to-application model will be delivered as integrated offerings for large data centre environments, as well as solutions designed for small and mid-size businesses, the two firms said.
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