Microsoft, HP unveil joint cloud offering

Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, hardly strangers to joint product efforts, are now teaming up to sell cloud services.

The two companies said Thursday that they are engineering a variety of private, public and hybrid cloud services to deliver Microsoft’s business applications. The services will be available later this month.

The Microsoft (Nasdaq: MFST) applications that will be available in a private cloud via HP (NYSE: HPQ) Enterprise Cloud Services include Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Server, all delivered as a service.

The public cloud option will involve Microsoft Office 365 delivered via Microsoft’s cloud.

Hybrid offerings that combine public and private clouds will be offered as well.

Both companies enabled the moves unveiled today through some earlier actions.

Microsoft recently created a “license mobility” program that allows its customers with current software assurance licenses on their business productivity tools to transfer those licenses to a qualified provider, said Mark Hill, vice president enterprise partner group at Microsoft. “Whether it moves to an HP data center or to a Microsoft data center, it is the same product license,” said Hill.

This agreement also gives HP’s Enterprise Services, which provides infrastructure as a service, new software as a service offerings.

“It is a complete service for our customers, and it builds right off of the same processes that we designed around our enterprise cloud compute model,” said Patricia Wilkey, global director of marketing, workplace services, in HP’s enterprise services.

The services will be offered worldwide, but customers will keep data in specific countries, something that is typically necessary for government customers.

Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, said the Microsoft and HP agreement represent “a different kind of industry consolidation that I think we have been seeing increasing evidence of over the last couple of years.”

“Companies that have common strategic interest are figuring out new ways of partnering with one another to their mutual benefit,” said Kin.

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