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Desktop service debuts at EDS

The computer services company announces a pay-as-you-go service for managing desktop computers, adding to the momentum of utility computing.

Adding to the momentum of utility computing, Electronic Data Systems on Wednesday announced a flexibly priced service for managing desktop computers.

With the new service, a company would be able to pay for some desktop applications on a subscription basis while charges for such things as data storage and help desk services would be based on usage. The service is dubbed MyCOE--for "my consistent office environment."

"A growing number of clients expect to get what they need when they need it, and pay only for what they use," said Carol Wyatt, an executive with EDS' Distributed Systems Service line.

Utility computing refers to the push to make computing power into a service similar to electricity or water, where costs would reflect the amount of computing used. A number of companies have launched initiatives in this vein, such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

EDS' MyCOE service uses a new Microsoft product for implementing software for desktop computers more easily. Called the "Solution Accelerator for Business Desktop Deployment," the product includes guidance for how to install Windows XP and Office XP software, as well as tools for tasks such as capturing PC users' data.

Microsoft says that in the past it has had tools for jobs such as migrating data, but that this is the first time the company has offered a comprehensive product for helping businesses implement desktop software.

Microsoft is making the launch aid available free online.

EDS said it worked with Microsoft on developing a new Microsoft technology called "zero touch," which provides remote installation capability for Microsoft operating system upgrades and associated tasks. Tasks for installing Windows XP and Office XP that previously required manual intervention are now almost totally automated, EDS said.

The MyCOE product allows for customization for individual computer users, the company said.