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In a bid to wrench market share from Unix competitors IBM and Sun, HP today introduced two pizza-sized entry-level servers - dubbed the Piranha family - bundled with Nokia WAP server and a number of other software apps and services. The A400 and A500 line of servers, which stack up to 20 in a rack, are one-way and two-way slim boxes based on PA Risc chips the 8500 and the 8600. The A400 expands to 2GB of memory and has two PCI slots, while the A500 supports up to 8GB and has four PCI slots. Mark Hudson, worldwide marketing manager at HP, claimed that the two boxes had "thirteen times" greater performance than Sun's 220R and IBM's B50 entry level boxes. The A400 costs less than 4,000 Euros and the A500 less than 10,000 Euros, he said, and will be available in July. Standard configurations of the A series include Nokia's WAP server, as well as software from Inktomi, Real Media, Resonate, Infoseek, and Intershop. The entry level line is intended to bolster HP's market share in Europe, said Laurent Balaine, VP of marketing in Europe. Balaine claimed: "We've narrowed the gap with Sun. The A class completes our offerings." HP estimates it has over 25 per cent of the Unix market in Europe, and while it only has 15 per cent in the entry level, he said the firm intended to be market leader in that sphere too. However, the introduction of these Piranhas may not necessarily be good for the channel. In a separate announcement, HP seemed to suggest that rather than be compensated for straight hardware sales, its channel partners were to be rewarded on annuities based on services sales. In addition, HP is recruiting a mass of so called application service provider agents to grow the entry level Internet part of its business.

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