IBM and Cyber Source are to create Europe?s first electronic software distribution clearing house, in a bid to kickstart this emerging sales medium.
The companies will offer the service to resellers as well as IBM-Lotus' own software rivals, providing them with a platform for online sales plus financial services such as currency conversion.
Cyber Source, which already provides similar services in the US, will develop a version for Europe this quarter. In the fourth quarter, users in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands will be able purchase products from IBM, Lotus and other software publishers via online resellers.
IBM subsidiary, Lotus, said it has already received interest from resellers in the UK, Sweden, France and Germany to run pilots, mainly selling Lotus? consumer-based products.
Sheryl Barnes, senior manager for electronic commerce at Lotus, said corporate level products will be available from Web-based resellers by the end of the year. Lotus is currently recruiting more resellers and distributors who are keen to use this sales medium.
Lotus began a similar pilot in the US in January with resellers selling smaller, Internet-based products. Resellers are charging 10 per cent less for products priced at less than $100, because they do not have the usual sales overheads.
However, in Europe, the complex tax and currency issues will probably prove barriers to adoption, although among the IBM-Cybersource services will be multiple currency conversions and calculations of local value added tax, based on IBM?s financial services technology.
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