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HP takes stake in Software.com

Hewlett-Packard purchases an equity stake in privately held Software.com and says the two companies will offer carrier-scale messaging technology to large ISPs.

Hewlett-Packard today said it has purchased an equity stake in privately held Software.com and announced a partnership with the messaging company to offer carrier-scale messaging technology and services to large Internet service providers.

Although both companies refused to disclose financial terms, Software.com president Valdur Koha confirmed during a phone interview that HP has purchased a minority stake in Software.com.

He added: "We do limited disclosing on minority investments, but basically this is a very good thing. We are very excited about it."

HP said it will combine its Smart Internet services and products and OpenView enterprise services and products with Software.com's InterMail line. This combination will give service providers, who deal with millions of subscribers and heavy traffic, high reliability and capabilities when dealing with messaging.

"HP now has the license to resell our products, and with its strong reputation in the telecommunications space, HP is becoming a primary partner for Software.com in helping us expand the distribution of our products," Allison Parker, a spokeswoman for Software.com, said in a phone interview. "This [alliance] puts us in a better position in the marketplace overall."

Carrier-scale messaging, which is designed for large service providers, is basically a system that can support millions of subscribers, said Parker. She said ISPs need a system that can handle that number of users around the clock, and they can't afford to be offline or lose messages. Messages include not only email but voicemail via the Internet, fax mail, and so on.

Both companies said they would benefit greatly from the partnership, giving each a lead in the emerging messaging marketplace.

"HP is strong in the telecommunications market, and we know the emergence of email is mission critical.We wanted to gain leadership in the market," HP spokesman Nigel Upton said in a phone interview. "Naturally, Software.com is leading in that [ISP] space."

Software.com, which has headquarters in California and Massachusetts, said it hosts more than 37 million mailboxes worldwide.

"We have worldwide presence and worldwide customers, but, of course, we're still in growth mode and certainly don't have what HP can bring to the table," said Koha. The goal is to provide an all-inclusive messaging package to ISPs that build on both companies' messaging products, utilizing HP's software and hardware compliments as well.

In addition to its Software.com messaging partnership, in which HP is targeting large ISPs, the company also announced last month that it will partner with Microsoft and Nortel to target small to large enterprise businesses.

HP said Microsoft Exchange products are being enhanced with advanced services through HP's Expert Technical Advice. Through Nortel, HP said it will offer voice- and data-integration capabilities and other telecommunications services and products.

In afternoon trading, HP shares rose .18 to 72.18.