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Fourteen months after Hewlett-Packard Co. and Accenture Ltd. unveiled the first “HP Store on eBay,” the specialized online site is now dark.

Accenture launched and managed the HP Store in November 2002 as part of its “Connection to eBay” (C2E) strategy. The HP Store offered refurbished PCs, workstations, servers, handhelds, printers and accessories. Accenture charged HP an undisclosed fee to manage the site.

In December 2003, Reuters reported that Accenture’s C2E strategy had grown to include 60 major technology customers. The story, which was picked up by, cited Hewlett-Packard as one Accenture’s successful C2E clients.

Not quite. A closer look reveals that the HP Store on eBay has no inventory. A message on the site says “Sorry, all items have been purchased.” The site has received more than 1,000 customer feedback postings since its inception, but the last piece of buyer feedback appeared in Sept. 2003.

A spokeswoman for Accenture confirms that the site has ceased operations. “The association between HP and C2E is old news,” says the Accenture spokeswoman. “Their working together was a good one, but they have moved on to develop other, more current customer successes.” Moreover, Accenture’s C2E group is “continuing to explore opportunities with other parts of HP,” according to the spokeswoman. For its part, HP couldn’t be reached for comment during the holiday on Monday.

Sources close to HP say the company may have simply decided to sell refurbished hardware on its own, and that HP remains on good terms with Accenture.

Deal 2 — Simply the Best?

Computer Sciences Corp. ranks among the top outsourcing vendors in North America, according to a recent report from Meta Group. The research firm specifically pointed to CSC’s strong knowledge management expertise.Still, consulting firm scorecards tend to vary. CSC was ranked 29th out of 41 companies in CIO Insight’s recent “Vendor Value” survey. The survey, in which nearly 1,300 CIOs participated, ranked hardware, software and service providers in terms of business value and reliability.

What’s the real deal on CSC? You tell me. I’m all ears.

Deal 3 – Happy Belated Holidays

Electronics Boutique, a retail videogame chain that operates in malls, recently deployed a new warehouse software system to manage shipments and process inbound receipts.The solution, designed by Manhattan Associates, didn’t skip a beat during the busy holiday season.

Electronics Boutique’s business is growing 25 percent annually, but the company expects the new warehousing system to scale for years to come. I’ll share specific details about the system in an upcoming edition of eWeek. Stay tuned.

Deal 4 – Cleaning Up in Every Aisle

It has been nearly a decade since I last wrote about Publix Super Markets. At the time, Publix was weighing greater investment in OS/2 servers. This time around, Publix is betting on Manugistics Group Inc.’s supply chain software.Manugistics, like many supply chain specialists, nearly imploded during the dot-com implosion, but business appears to be stabilizing. Revenues fell only 10 percent for the first nine months of 2003, and the company’s stock is now trading near a 52-week high.

Hmm. Perhaps IT really is back.

About Contract Watch: Each week, this column examines customer engagements that are stirring the channel, and the solutions providers behind them. Our goal is to strip away the hype and tell you what’s really selling—and what isn’t—in today’s IT marketplace. Send your tips to my e-mail address below. Joseph C. Panettieri has covered Silicon Valley since 1992. He is editorial director of the New York Institute of Technology . Write to him at