Hewlett-Packard (HP) has pipped Sun Microsystems to the post in supplying Amazon.com with high availability Unix servers in a deal that is estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
Under the terms of the agreement, the retailer will also sell HP's consumer goods, including scanners, printers, digital cameras, calculators, personal digital assistants and accessories, online in the US from January.
Amazon currently sells a smaller range of HP products, which are supplied by a distributor. The new deal will cut out the middleman, however, which Amazon.com refused to name.
Richard Chin, group product manager of Amazon.com's consumer electronics and software business, said: "The ability to source directly enables us to increase the selection and availability of HP products in our consumer electronics store." But he refused to comment on whether the range would be sold internationally in future.
Over the next 18 months, HP will begin installing up to 20 of its 9000 V Class servers running HP/UX, which it claims provide 99.999 per cent availability, at the Amazon site. HP claimed it won the contract against Sun because its financial arm was able to offer the company "creative financial solutions".
An HP spokesperson said: "Being able to offer financial solutions was key to Amazon.com and Sun does not offer this service." While he refused to disclose the financial terms of the deal, he said the machines sell for about $1 million apiece.
The contract is a significant win for HP because of Amazon's reliance on high availability servers, which it hopes will see it through the busy Christmas period. Analysts believe Amazon will receive three times more traffic to its site than over previous Christmas holidays.
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