Thumbnail image for HP_Logo_2013.jpeg

If Microsoft was feeling the pressure on its Office division before HP Discover, yesterday’s announcement that HP and Google are teaming up to provide SMB IT in a Box will aggravate the problem. The bottom line is that the new partnership offers small businesses ways to avoid buying Office.

Google, HP Resellers

While Microsoft has already made it easier to buy Office for private users and businesses through its subscription program, there is a growing number of products that are providing consumers with a choice. This latest one from HP should really give them food for thought.

The the first phase of HP SMB IT in a Box was unveiled at Discover yesterday and sees HP enter the Google Apps reseller program and to offer what HP describes as a “one-stop shop” technology solution for the small-and-medium (SMB) space.

What this means is that HP resellers will be able to sell on Google Apps for Business whereas until now they have been limited to Office and Office 365. According to Google, 5 million business users are already signed up to Google Apps for Business, which comes with Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs and IM, among others.This is only the latest in a number of HP–Google initiatives with HP already offering a number of products based on Android and Chrome -- including the HP SlateBook x2, HP Slate7 and the HP Chromebook.

HP recognizes the constantly evolving needs of SMB customers in today's dynamic business environment. Together with HP's channel partners, we will offer our customers an incredible bundle of PCs, printers and Google Apps for Business, enabling business owners to focus on their customers instead of worrying about IT,” Ron Coughlin, senior vice president for consumer solutions and PC s at HP said in a statement about the partnership.

HP, Google Future Plans?

And this is only a start, HP said. While HP SMB IT will start by throwing HP's PCs, printers, management console, administration and customer support together with the productivity, collaboration tools and security of Google Apps, HP promises that the partnership will grow. It doesn't say how, or in what direction, but it does say that by the end of the process it will cover all the technology needs of SMBs, including integrated consoles for resellers, IT administrators and end users.

No one really thinks at the moment that even this partnership will knock Microsoft Office from its pedestal, but it does seem to indicate that the changing relationship HP has with Microsoft is likely to change even more. For years, the two were best buddies with Windows firmly installed on HP PCs. However, if HP is teaming up with Google at this very fundamental level, other changes could well be on the cards.

The HP SMB IT in a Box initial offering is expected to be available to select resellers in the United States in July, followed by broader availability worldwide by the end of the year.