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Compaq, Intuit Forge $60 Million Deal

In the wake of a disappointing year for consumer PC sales, Compaq Computer Corp. appears to be shifting its focus to the corporate computing market.

The Houston-based hardware manufacturer Thursday forged a two-year alliance with Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit Inc., makers of the popular Quicken personal finance software products that is worth an estimated $60 million to the two companies over the course of the deal.

It is unclear how that $60 million will be split between the two companies.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Compaq becomes Intuit's preferred technology provider. Intuit will purchase equipment, technology and services from Compaq, including ProLiant servers and personal computers. Also, over the next two years, Intuit plans to integrate Compaq's Tru64 platform into its technology infrastructure and move its data storage onto Compaq's StorageWorks. Intuit's current Windows-based server architecture will be standardized on Compaq ProLiant platforms and Compaq will power many of Intuit's Web sites.

In exchange, Compaq has made a "substantial commitment" to advertise on Intuit's Web sites and will bundle Quicken New User Edition and Quicken Financial Center on its personal computers. Quicken New User Edition is a free version of the Quicken personal finance software designed for new users. The version does not have the ability to import previous data files. The Quicken Financial Center is intended to introduce users to Quicken's Web sites, and links to banking, shopping, taxes, retirement and insurance sites.