Compaq sees need for new partners

The hardware vendor to date has mainly partnered with software vendors such as SAP and Oracle, as well as service providers like AOL and Digital Island. However, Compaq is now looking for additional types of partnerships, said Blackmore.

"Our next-generation partners are companies like Commerce One, and CMGI Engage, which is a profiling company. They look at profiles, to enable systems to get that information on their customers," he said.

Blackmore was referring to the need for personalisation of Web sites, which has become a buzz word in the electronic-commerce era. Companies need to get as much information as they can on their customers, so that as soon as a customer logs on to their Web site, the customer can be met with the appropriate greetings and offers, suiting his or her particular profile.

Compaq is also looking to partner with Internet telephony companies, he added.

Outlining his vision for the future of electronic business, Blackmore said that Internet access devices, such as handhelds based on Microsoft's Pocket PC platform, will become lifestyle gadgets and that GPSs (global positioning systems) will be standard equipment in all cars.

In addition, electronic commerce will also drive demand for servers, storage and more services.

"E-commerce drives a huge server volume," Blackmore said. "The demand for network storage will explode."

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