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HP, Disney expand technology alliance

Hewlett-Packard and Walt Disney announce a 10-year extension of their business and technology pact.

Hewlett-Packard has found a little more magic from the Magic Kingdom.

HP, which inherited a strategic partnership with Walt Disney when it purchased Compaq Computer in 2002, on Thursday announced a 10-year extension to the business and technology pact, along with a new advertising campaign to complement the launch of "Mission: Space," a new Walt Disney World ride the two companies jointly developed.

"We believe this is one of the coolest attractions that Disney has dreamed up," HP CEO Carly Fiorina said during a Webcast to announce the agreement.

HP, which has supplied Walt Disney with tens of thousands of PCs, servers and printers, also helped create the "Mission: Space" ride control system. Under the new agreement, the two companies plan to work together on a wide range of new efforts, including technology that will allow HP to deliver Disney content into consumers' homes.

Disney has said the next 10 years will become the 'digital decade,' Fiorina said.

"We can help Disney meet that vision in two ways," she added. "First, we can help provide infrastructure to distribute protected digital content." Second, HP will build hardware that makes it possible for Walt Disney to reach out to customers. HP will build devices ranging from handhelds to digital home products that can serve up Disney content to customers, she said.

Jeff Clarke, the former Compaq financial chief who helped create the Disney deal for Compaq in 1999, said Disney and HP have a long history together. HP sold its first oscillator to Disney in 1937 for use in the making of the movie "Fantasia."

In addition to being one of HP's top 100 customers, Disney is teaming with the company on a variety of joint marketing and technology arrangements. One of those efforts is a project in which HP hopes to drive more than 1 billion printed pages through Disney's Web site.

Among the things that will make people want to print more via the Web, Clarke said, are printable coloring books and certificates that will be embedded in Disney games.

Clarke said the two companies are working together on other technology issues, including digital rights management.

The two companies are also partnering in a sweepstakes that will allow one winner to spend New Year's Eve on Mars--or at least Disney's earthbound equivalent--as well as filling the winner's home with a variety of tech gear. Contestants have to go to HP's online shopping site to register. The companies plan print, TV and online ads that tout the sweepstakes.

HP has already said it expects to spend $300 million on advertising as part of a big consumer push.