The two companies aim to boost PC server sales, according to company executives quoted by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The agreement also cements a previous arrangement, under which Canon tied up with Big Blue to sell IBM PCs.
Because its own PC initiatives have failed, the Japanese company has tended to hook up with other computer companies, particularly U.S. vendors. Canon previously worked closely with Apple. But it remains strong in the "channel," the network of computer resellers providing corporate PC equipment, particularly in printers and copiers.
Under the agreement, Canon will take phone inquiries and then dispatch IBM technicians to perform maintenance operations. The yearly charge to corporations will be at least 146,000 yen (about $1,100), Nikkei said.
IBM has repeatedly said that it will look toward consulting as one of its chief sources of revenue and earnings in the future. The whole of the market is worth billions of dollars annually.