Hewlett-Packard is to launch a subscription computing service designed for small and mid-sized businesses. This is, essentially, leasing for smaller businesses, and may fill a gap not covered by current leasing contracts.
HP Extended Office, available from this week in the US, charges a base fee of $169 per PC monthly for an all-in-one service that includes an HP Vectra Pentium III PC, outsourced technical support for hardware and software, remote management of software, internet access, and email hosting.
HP said it wasn't sure when the service would be launched in the UK, but said it should happen here, possibly as early as this summer.
HP guarantees 90-second response time in the US for telephone support for hardware and limited software application support.
The $169 base price includes an HP Vectra equipped with a 30GB hard disk, CD-ROM, 8MB AGP video card, modem and 17in monitor.
HP throws in Windows 2000 and Office 2000 with its standard package, along with virus protection, system utilities, remote data backup, an email account, and online tutorials. HP requires businesses sign a 36-month contract.