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HP Powers Fast-growing 2003 Inc. 500 Companies

Customers offer real-world perspectives on HP solutions for small- and medium-size businesses
PALO ALTO, Calif., March 25, 2004

HP today announced that CardUSA, Coventry First, SupplyCore, Tastefully Simple and Vesta --- five companies on the 2003 Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing, small, privately held businesses in the United States - have deployed HP technologies designed for small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) with fewer than 1,000 employees.

HP ProLiant servers, document management software, storage systems, and other products in HP's SMB portfolio have helped these fast-growing companies, as well as numerous others, increase efficiency and productivity.

"We promised SMBs that they would get more from HP, and we're delivering peace of mind that comes with knowing we'll be there to help keep their businesses up and running," said Robyn West, vice president of small and medium business, HP Americas. "We're providing a broad portfolio of products, integrated technology solutions and an ownership experience that enables customers to focus on their business and increase efficiency, productivity and drive tremendous results."

CardUSA

Located in Hollywood, Fla., CardUSA is a card production management company servicing the many industries using cards and their related technologies. Since 1998, CardUSA has established itself as a leader in card manufacturing, personalization and fulfillment. The essence of Card USA's mission is to add value while reducing costs. Telecommunications, retail, banks, associations, hospitality, healthcare and advertising are among the numerous sectors where the card medium is a centerpiece in customer communications, relationships and retention. Hundreds of companies of all sizes and product lines rely on CardUSA to produce their cards efficiently and cost effectively.

CardUSA uses HP servers for its switching and 24x7 backup applications. "As Florida is often problematic with failures, we needed a server solution that would provide us with high levels of scalability and reliability," said Simon Gignoux, engineer, CardUSA. "We are happy with the HP server performance as well as HP's service and warranty offerings."

Coventry First

By uniquely bridging the capital and insurance markets, Coventry First has created a secondary market for life insurance, enabling policyowners to receive fair market value for unneeded or underperforming life insurance products. This industry transformation is fueling the company's incredible growth. Ranked No. 12 on the 2003 Inc. 500 list, Coventry First has had five-year sales growth of more than 7,000 percent.

Headquartered in Fort Washington, Pa., Coventry First relies on HP ProLiant ML and DL Xeon™-class servers to power its growing enterprise systems. "As a market leader undergoing extraordinary growth, we must be extremely proactive in anticipating our network needs," said Andrew Brecher, vice president of information technology, Coventry First. "HP offers excellent product reliability and, more importantly, a high level of standardization which enables us to scale our internal systems to manage our continued growth."

SupplyCore

Founded in 1987, SupplyCore - an integrated supply and procurement services company specializing in maintenance, repair and operations materials for government organizations - has evolved with the major trends in government purchasing. The 90-employee company holds worldwide contracts and regional supply contracts covering the North Central and Southeast United States, Japan and Okinawa as well as locations in Europe.

Located in Rockford, Ill., one of SupplyCore's biggest challenges is maintaining for the Department of Defense a half-million item catalog, which grows monthly. The company grew 5,612 percent over five years as of 2003 and uses multiple HP servers, printers and HP iPAQ Pocket PCs as well as a recently purchased plotter for AutoCAD tasks.

"We looked to HP for its excellent support and product reliability, which was not inherent in the solution we had in place," said Doug Wolters, infrastructure manager, SupplyCore. "We are very happy with the overall HP solution and continue to add to our environment as the business grows. In addition, as we encounter such significant growth, we're extremely pleased with HP's Jetadmin solution because it helps us be proactive versus reactive, which is an immense timesaver."

Tastefully Simple

Tastefully Simple, a 300-employee direct sales company based in Alexandria, Minn., is experiencing extraordinary growth. Started in 1995, the company offers a line of upscale gourmet foods, sold primarily by independent consultants at home taste-testing parties nationwide.

More than 85 percent of product orders are made via the Internet by the company's consultants. Order management, individual consultant business reports and company information are available online. The company chooses to purchase its technology direct from HP and uses a broad range of HP products, including HP ProLiant DL580 and DL380 servers, HP StorageWorks storage area networks, desktop and notebook PCs and printers.

"We couldn't have grown this quickly without technology," said Doug Cyphers, technology services senior team lead at Tastefully Simple. "HP was the only vendor that offered the range of products and solutions we required at the time."

Starting out small in the early years, Tastefully Simple had acquired an assortment of hardware from multiple vendors. It recognized the needed to establish a standardized, reliable infrastructure for all of its business needs.

"HP provides solid products to help us create a stable environment. Standardization helps us reduce management costs, which helps our bottom line," said Cyphers.

Vesta

Headquartered in Portland, Ore., Vesta Corp., a leader in stored value recharge services, experienced 6,330 percent growth over five years, according to the 2003 Inc. 500 ranking. Uniquely suited to stimulate customer loyalty in the telecom, financial services and retail industries, Vesta's solutions are designed to support credit card-not-present transactions requiring real-time customer authentication and account recharge.

For more than seven years, the company's proprietary recharge and authentication technologies have maximized revenue and provided secure, convenient account recharge services for customers of AT&T Long Distance, Cingular, American Airlines, Citibank, AT&T Wireless and others.

In less than three years, Vesta has tripled its environment of HP servers. The company is continually working to accommodate the IT needs associated with its fast-paced growth. "Our rapid growth demands a server line that can scale as fast as we do. The flexibility of HP ProLiant servers has allowed us to seamlessly add capacity and move with client demand. We operate 24x7 with a goal of 5-nines availability," said Jason Blackhurst, vice president of operations, Vesta. "HP is a solid partner with a broad portfolio of products that meet our business needs and the needs of our customers. We've found the reliability provided by HP to be unparalleled."

More information about HP solutions for small and medium businesses is available at http://www.hp.com/go/smb.

About HP

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the last four fiscal quarters, HP revenue totaled $74.7 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.


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This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include the possibility that the market for the sale of certain products and services may not develop as expected; that development and performance of these products and services may not proceed as planned; and other risks that are described from time to time in HP's Securities and Exchange Commission reports, including but not limited to the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2003, and reports filed after the form 10-K. HP assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

About HP

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.