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HP trots out new servers

HP introduces new NT servers targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, in an effort to bolster sales amidst declining server profit margins.

Hewlett-Packard (HWP) introduced new servers targeted at small and medium-sized businesses in its Windows NT-based NetServer line, in an effort to bolster sales amidst declining server profit margins.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has already trained its sights on selling desktops to the growing segment of businesses with 500 or fewer employees through its Brio line. Now the company will market the new NetServer E50 to the same users by including built-in hardware and software for automatic data backup.

The server is also equipped with server management tools that will allow a reseller to remotely manage a customer's system--an important feature since many smaller companies have few, if any information technology employees on site.

HP's move comes at a time when studies are showing that more and more small businesses, in particular, are buying computers and accessing the Internet. The percentage of businesses with a maximum of 100 employees using or planning to use PCs, software, printers, and the Internet jumped in 1997 to 78 percent, said market research firm International Data Corporation in a recent study.

Efforts to sell systems to small and medium-sized businesses will heat up this year as companies such as Compaq, IBM, and HP face swelling inventories. HP's new products come on the heels of a speech from chief executive Lewis Platt, who said last week excess inventory will cause across-the-board price cuts in PCs and servers. On Monday, the company followed through and cut prices on the NetServer line by up to 20 percent.

The HP NetServer E50 system comes with a 300-MHz or 333-MHz Pentium II processor as well as an HP tape drive and software data backup. The software can automatically back up the server unattended, HP says. Prices start at $2,025.