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HP set to unveil Fremont server project

It's the firm's latest e-commerce initiative: Fremont is an "enabling" technology that lets different servers exchange information for Internet-based services.

Hewlett-Packard executives will unveil the company's Fremont project Tuesday, the next component in the company's "e-services" marketing plan and rallying cry.

Outgoing Hewlett-Packard chief executive Lew Platt as well as Ann Livermore--a candidate to step into Platt's shoes--will help show off the technology at a shindig at HP's Palo Alto, California, headquarters.

Fremont is an "enabling" technology that lets different servers exchange information for Internet-based services, according to sources familiar with the project. HP declined to comment on the technology.

HP is taking pains to make Fremont as widespread as possible, basing it on Sun Microsystems' "write once, run anywhere" technology and making it an open-source project, sources said. In open-source programming, anyone can download the original programming instructions, making it easier to port software from one computer system to another.

Although HP is trying to propagate the Fremont technology as broadly as possible by using Java and open-source methods, partnerships still are crucial. HP declined to comment on partners, but SAP plans to attend the unveiling next week.

Through its e-services plan, HP aims to benefit from the Internet both by selling its own hardware and by skimming revenue off services that companies sell over the Internet. For example, HP last week said it would provide $500 million in hardware and services to Qwest so that company could sell access to SAP's complex business planning software. As part of the plan, HP will get revenue from fees companies pay Qwest essentially to rent the SAP software.

The Fremont technology fits into the e-services scheme by making it easier for one computer to access services running on another operating system and different hardware.

Market research firm International Data Corporation predicts that the rent-an-app business, called application service providing or ASP, will be a $2.1 billion market in 2003.