Hewlett-Packard has announced an ambitious plan to re-position itself as the leading provider of software and hardware technologies that allow companies to provide e-services to customers and partners. The transformation, say HP officials, will place it in a prime position as companies move into the 'second chapter' of the Internet and start offering core services on-line. 'We expect our e-services solutions to command a leadership position in the market,' said HP chairman and chief executive Lew Platt. 'We have products and services that make us very relevant for 'chapter two' of the Internet.' HP defines an e-service as any service or business process companies put on the Internet to create new revenue, or save money through increased efficiency. Unlike simple e-business, or e-commerce, which generally has been restricted to certain areas such as invoicing or transaction processing, e-services involves a firm using the Web to improve almost any aspect of its business. Such is HP's confidence in this emerging area that its executives expect e-services to completely transform the way companies do business. 'The Net will take a front-row seat in helping companies achieve profitability and growth,' Mr Platt said, adding e-services could help create whole new industries. The e-services mantra will pervade every aspect of HP's business. It had a strong track record of revenue growth in the mid-1990s but that - along with profit growth - generally has been sluggish in the past year. Moreover, HP has been accused of being slow at formulating a coherent Internet strategy. Other companies have taken the lead in e-commerce, including IBM, which recently said it made US$20 billion in revenue last year from it. HP officials claim taking a leadership position in what they refer to as the next 'E' will allow it to leapfrog e-business leaders such as IBM. 'HP's e-services strategy is spreading like wildfire within the company,' said Ann Livermore, president and chief executive of HP's enterprise computing business. She said e-services helped every single part of HP's product line, which encompassed personal computers, printing and imaging products, Unix and NT-based servers and enterprise applications. HP executives say the signs that e-services will pervade the second chapter of the Internet are already here. These include the increasing popularity of applications on demand (HP call this 'apps on tap'), an explosion in vertical industry, or application specific portals, and the emergence of dynamically brokered e-services. The company also announced partnerships and alliances with companies sharing a common vision of the future and unveiled e-speak - a technology allowing different e-services to interact with each other - essentially speaking the same language. For example, a next-generation travel portal will be able to integrate e-services from airlines, hotels and tour-booking companies to offer a one-stop service to customers.