HP, Microsoft Strengthen Web Services Ties

Looking to simplify development of advanced applications, Hewlett Packard has expanded its Web services pact with Microsoft.

Specifically, HP will integrate its XML Web services tools, including its Enterprise Toolkit, into Microsoft’s Visual Studio .NET application development environment.

“Our tools will allow a wide variety of developers to design and develop manageability into applications and Web services up front, ultimately increasing the value of those software offerings,” said Mike Rank, an HP general manager.

With today’s announcement, the Palo Alto, Calif., hardware giant and Redmond, Wash., software leader move even closer.

In September, they pledged a combined $50 million to meld HP’s IT infrastructure technology and services with Microsoft’s .NET software.

Key to the deal is the creation of a specialized force of .Net consultants and systems architects. HP will train 5,000 sales staffers on .NET, certify 3,000 services employees on .NET and form a new group of .NET solution architects.

The project builds upon HP’s history as a provider of IT infrastructure programs based on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Exchange 2000 Server, BizTalk Server 2000 and other Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server products.

For Microsoft, the addition of HP to its .NET Integration Program gives large corporate, government and nonprofit customers another reason to embrace the development environment.

“Developer productivity is a critical success factor in the enterprise, and the addition of HP resources will enhance the functionality and flexibility that Visual Studio .NET provides,” said Dan Hay, a Microsoft product manager.

At the same time HP is making a greater commitment to .NET, Microsoft is rolling out new tools allowing .Net developers to build business-specific applications based on Word and Excel documents.

The tools, released in conjunction with Office 11, support the Visual Basic .NET and Visual C# .NET programming languages. Developers can also access to other features of Visual Studio .Net 2003, including its editor and debugging environment.