AOL and HP Form a Printing and E-Commerce Alliance

Hewlett-Packard and America Online have announced a plan to bring enhanced printing and e-commerce solutions to various AOL brands.

The companies said they are collaborating on several online areas to provide greater ease-of-use, better output and additional print-related options for consumers. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. HP-branded and co-branded components are expected to include the following:

A print center within the Computing Channel of AOL, CompuServe and Netscape Netcenter that will allow users to explore new printing projects using their PCs

Print buttons to make printing easier and more intuitive are expected to be added to both AOL and CompuServe, providing users with the ability to easily print e-mail, AOL My Calendar pages, Address Book data and general Web pages in the format they prefer.

Customized content publishing to allow users to create customized print jobs of select Web sites in a "personalized newspaper" format

Low-ink notification/quick purchase, designed to notify users of certain future HP printers when the ink cartridge or toner is low, and allow them to purchase these accessories easily using AOL's Quick Checkout purchasing option

Commercial printing for larger or more complex printing projects, allowing users to send out print jobs directly to participating commercial-printing companies that are HP service providers

Under the agreement, HP also will become an anchor tenant in Shop @AOL. Users will have direct access from the "Printers & Accessories" department of Shop@ AOL to the HP Shopping Village, where they will be able to purchase HP printers, ink and related accessories

Users also will be able to access the HP Shopping Village from the AOL, Netscape Netcenter or CompuServe Print Center.

The companies also will engage in joint marketing efforts.