Hewlett-Packard Co has consummated its long-standing relationship with Security First Technologies Inc by taking a $10m stake in the financial service application software company and making it its preferred provider of software to the banking industry. In return, S1, as it likes to be known, will insure that its data center runs exclusively on HP machines and HP-UX and it will actively promote HP to all its potential customers, though if they insist on running other vendor’s hardware, they will be free to do so. S1 offers banks the option of running their internet-based financial services at its own data center or sells banks the software and services to enable them to do it themselves. Most of its banking partners opt for the first option. They are charged about $4 per customer, per month. Current S1 customer include Citibank, Eastern Bank, The Principal Financial Group and its own Security First Network Bank. HP has been working with S1 since its inception in 1995 and promises to feature it as one of the planks of its forthcoming internet strategy announcement, which is due within two weeks and will focus on new services HP intends to brand as Internet Chapter 2 (02/08/99). The two companies will promote each other’s products – currently HP has no financial software of its own, but will promote it with its Praesidium security system. In a separate, but similar announcement, Andersen Consulting also acquired a stake in S1 for $4m and will help develop new applications to help insurers establish and manage online customer relationships. HP says $10m buys it about one to two percent of S1.