updated 12/13/2006 8:08:33 PM ET 2006-12-14T01:08:33

Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. will jointly sell information-technology services to businesses over the next three years under a partnership disclosed Wednesday.

The deal amounts to an expansion of already close ties between Microsoft, the world's largest software company, and HP, the No. 1 computer vendor. The companies said they would invest at least $300 million together in creating and marketing services together. The companies said their new venture would focus on offering services in such fields as communications and data management.

(MSNBC.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal News.)

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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