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HP adds StarMedia to e-services plan

Hewlett-Packard is expected to name the Latin American Internet service provider as its latest partner, as part of a scheme that gives away services to ISPs which help set up e-commerce Web sites.

Hewlett-Packard is expected to announce a deal tomorrow to provide free hardware to StarMedia, a large Internet service provider in Latin America.

The agreement is part of HP's Commerce for the Millennium plan, under which HP gives away hardware, software, and services to Internet service providers that help others set up e-commerce Web sites. In return, HP gets a part of the proceeds generated by those commerce activities.

It's one of several deals HP has struck under its new "e-services" initiative, which it is using to try to capture more revenue from businesses moving to the Internet. The initiative helped lift the company's stock price to an all-time high this summer, though HP hasn't yet made much money.

The company debuted its Commerce for the Millennium program in April. StarMedia isn't the program's first partner, but it is the first Latin American e-services partner, a source familiar with the plan said.

Under the plan, StarMedia will let merchants set up Internet stores with secure transactions, the source said.

StarMedia provides content for Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking audiences. Intel has invested in the company as part of its effort to spur Internet usage overseas, and the company also announced a deal with AT&T under which AT&T will provide network services for StarMedia operations.

The deal is expected to be announced at an HP World event tomorrow.

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