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Dell gets top billing with EDS

The direct PC maker will cut a deal with the consulting giant, giving it a leg up with the competition--and a direct line into EDS.

Dell Computer and Electronic Data Systems will announce Tuesday an expanded partnership, giving Dell top billing when the consulting giant advises clients on new Intel-based hardware systems.

Additionally, Dell becomes the preferred vendor for internal operations at EDS. The consulting company, based in Plano, Texas, employs 100,000 people worldwide, yet figures were not immediately available on what percentage of the company already uses Dell hardware.

Under the agreement, EDS will offer support for hardware products still under warranty in Latin America. In the United States, EDS will provide support and customer care services, such as tutorials on installing printers or scanners, or how to update anti-virus software.

With IT spending cutbacks and professional services in a slump, the deal between Round Rock, Texas-based Dell and EDS will help both companies. Dell's "primary provider status," in particular, will put it in closer competition with IBM and its Global Services unit and with Hewlett-Packard.

The pact builds on a previous arrangement the companies announced in May of last year. Under that agreement, Dell bundled EDS services, such as desktop support, hardware maintenance and systems management, with its computer systems. EDS in turn expanded its use of Dell PowerEdge servers and desktop products.