Symantec Backup Services on HP Consumer PCs

Hewlett-Packard Co, the world's biggest PC maker, will help sell online backup services from Symantec Corp, which is looking to expand its consumer business beyond its line of Norton security products.

Symantec said on Wednesday that HP will ship all the personal computers it sells to consumers with software that offers subscription to an Internet-based PC backup service. They will be offered a free one-month trial to the Web-based product, Norton Online Backup, followed by an annual subscription for $50.

The backup service is one of several so-called cloud computing products the company it has introduced over the past year in a bid to stem slowing sales growth. Analysts forecast that the emerging field of cloud computing will be among the fastest growing areas in technology over the coming years. It refers to the use of the web to access services from remote data centers.

The company has also introduced a cloud-based service for repairing PCs as well as one for letting parents monitor use of family computers. Symantec already has PC distribution agreement with HP through which it sells Norton Internet Security, a suite of programs to fight hackers and other threats. Software makers covet such deals because consumers like the convenience of purchasing programs right from their PC desktop. The world's top PC makers have similar relationships with various software companies. HP and Symantec have declined to say when the security software agreement is due to expire. Executives with No. 2 security software maker McAfee Inc have said that they hope to woo the contract away from Symantec. But Chaffin said that she intends to renegotiate a new contract when the current pact expires.