Govt. employees get HP discounts

Govt. employees get HP discounts

BY DIPKA BHAMBHANI | GCN STAFF

What does the Army's Small Computer Program at Fort Monmouth, N.J., have in common with the Smithsonian Institution, Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia and Riverside County in California?

All four have signed up with Hewlett-Packard Co.'s 6-month-old public-sector employee purchasing program, which lets workers buy an HP Pavilion home PC with monitor and printer for about $700. The workers can also buy digital cameras and other peripherals at the same discount HP gives its own employees'6 percent to 10 percent.

'It lets them take advantage of a wide variety of products that the government purchases anyway,' said Steve Miller, product leader for the Army's Small Computer Program, which adopted the purchasing program about a month ago. 'We feel that it's one more item to use our contracts [for] and help us become a one-stop shop.'

No charge

The agencies pay nothing, said Stephen Young, HP's public-sector manager for employee purchase programs.

'Many state and local and federal employees do not own a computer at home,' Young said. The employees learn more about technology and possibly learn to telecommute, while the agency gains more technically savvy workers, he said.

Miller said the Army sought an employee purchasing program as 'one more thing to help make life easier.' His organization values the technical experience gained at home more than the telecommuting possibility, he said.

Analyst Ulric Weil, technology strategist for investment research at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc. of Arlington, Va., said HP has had trouble in the slowing economy and is trying to win more stable government business. He said HP's annual federal revenue is about $1 billion, 12 percent of its business.

Weil said HP also recognizes the purchasing power of government credit cards. 'Government employees can choose who they want to buy from as long as they have a supervisor's approval,' he said.

HP officials said all the products sold to employees under the program comply with Section 508's accessibility requirements.

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