Elbows start to fly between IBM and HP

IBM Corp. has lobbed a preemptive strike of sorts against rival Hewlett-Packard Co., reports the New York Times. Late Thursday, it announced four fresh services contracts just ahead of a Monday meeting in Silicon Valley where HP is expected to explain the strategy and structure for its new acquisition, EDS.

The flurry of announcements marks the state of a protracted marketing and technology battle between the technology industry's largest companies.

The four international services deals that IBM announced are with PSBank in the Philippines, PTT Chemical Public Co. in Thailand, Saigon Commercial Bank in Vietnam and Skynet in Lithuania.

IBM was not terribly subtle about celebrating the international flair of its services and technology expertise. But it's not really subtlety that the company is after when it comes to HP and the services battlefield.

"HP will claim next week that they have some great new capabilities," said David Parker, the vice president of strategy for IBM Global Services. "I will be surprised if they are able to be very specific about that. It's still yesterday's business model."

HP announced in mid-May that it planned to purchase the Plano, Texas, systems integrator for $13.9 billion. The acquisition closed in late August. Following the purchase, HP officials began crafting a strategy for how to bring to bear EDS' capabilities in a number of vertical markets, including financial services, government, health care and transportation.

HP plans to hold a live video webcast of the Sept. 15 meeting with security analysts in which company chief executive officer Mark Hurd and other executives will put the acquisition in context and discuss plans for moving forward.

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