HP and Google are teaming up to sell a bundle of hardware and software called “SMB IT In A Box”, which will let smaller organisations avoid buying Microsoft Office.
HP is providing the PCs, printers, and other unspecified hardware.
Google’s contribution is Google Apps For Business, the cloud-based office apps it sells to enterprises as a monthly subscription.
The key point is that HP will sell SMB IT In A Box through its vast worldwide network of reseller partners. This is huge for Google, since most HP resellers haven’t sold Google products before.
Instead, many of them sell Microsoft Office and Office 365, its cloud-based apps suite. That’s because many HP resellers are also Microsoft resellers. And loyalty means a lot to these folks.
By teaming up with Google, HP could help Microsoft’s most bitter rival to take a bite out of the Office cash cow.
Need any more evidence that the once-tight HP-Microsoft relationship is fraying?
HP is already selling two devices that run on Google’s operating systems, a Chromebook and an Android tablet, the Slate 7. It’s planning to roll out another one, called the SlateBook x2, in August in the US.
Google says 5 million businesses are currently using Google Apps For Business, but Microsoft still rules the roost in office software, and it’s not really even close. And SMB In A Box probably isn’t going to change this.
But if SMB In A Box does catch on with small businesses, the next step could be to make the PCs run on Chrome OS instead of Windows. That’s when HP-Google would really get interesting.
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