The titans of ecommerce, Hewlett Packard and IBM, have been vying for prominence this week with moves aimed at fulfilling the promise of online business.
HP announced a tie-up between its Verifone division and EDS to promote multiple payment systems - point of sale, smartcard and Net-based commerce - to financial institutions. The company also established a worldwide software salesforce, the Electronic Business Software Organisation, to push ecommerce through its direct sales and reseller channels.
Key to EBSO?s product portfolio is HP?s Change Engine, software that enables inter-company business processes to be adapted to fluctuating trading demands.
HP?s announcements were greeted by analysts as a long awaited counter-offensive to IBM?s aggressive marketing thrust to position itself as champion in the ecommerce arena.
?We?re not just going to put an ?e? in front of all our products and call it electronic commerce,? said Uwe Sendrowski, manager for EBSO in Europe. ?We have new and deliverable systems, and this is what sets us apart.?
Meanwhile, IBM announced that it will devote $10 million of this year?s $5 billion R&D budget to set up the Institute for Advanced Commerce to conduct speculative research in a number of electronic business projects, such as cyber-auctions, electronic cheques and information economies.
The new Institute will be officially launched on Monday at the Internet World show in New York. Its advisory board will include executives from retailer Safeway, General Motors and the Carnegie-Mellon University.
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