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Microsoft enlists HP for PC help

HP will provide help-desk service to Microsoft employees and contractors in a deal worth tens of millions of dollars.

    Microsoft will be turning to Hewlett-Packard to help solve its computer problems, under a multiyear services pact due to be announced Monday.

    The deal, which is worth tens of millions of dollars, is one of the first high-profile announcements from HP's services unit since HP completed its acquisition of Compaq Computer in May. HP will provide help-desk service to Microsoft employees and contractors in up to 68 countries.

    "We're extremely excited about the validation this gives the new HP and HP services," said Joe Hogan, a vice president in HP's services unit. Hogan declined to say the exact length or financial terms of the deal.

    HP has touted growing its services business as a key goal of the merger. Hogan said the deal also reflects the company's effort to take advantage of the close ties that pre-merger Compaq had with Microsoft.

    Prior to the merger, Compaq had a deal to provide service to about 11,000 Microsoft employees in 35 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Hogan said HP beat out Siemens Business Services, which had been providing help-desk support to Microsoft.

    In addition to managing the help desk, HP will provide consulting work to Microsoft on developing ways for the help desk to uncover or anticipate problems.