Ecommerce software supplier Broadvision is offering European customers a profit sharing scheme it has developed in the US as an alternative to licence fees.
The BE4 programme is aimed at startup companies which lack the lump sum resources needed to invest in high end ecommerce tools, the company said.
Recently formed IT equipment dealer e-Exchange is the first UK company to take advantage of the offer. Chief executive Rakesh Ghandi says profit sharing means both parties have a vested interest in the success of his business.
Neither company would disclose details of the deal, but e-Exchange's vice president of product management, Bart Codd, said the contract combines a cash payment with an ongoing profit sharing agreement.
David Roberts, director of the UK Technical Infrastructure Forum, said: "Any alternative to significant capital purchase costs will clearly be helpful to an organisation."
Ilana Ron, of Broadvision's partner, Hewlett-Packard, said the profit sharing business model will become commonplace as companies look to reinvent themselves.
Sun Microsystems and Netscape are among the companies considering alternative methods of payment for software usage, including profit sharing.
Cyrus Gilbert Rolfe, European director of ecommerce for the Sun/Netscape Alliance, said etrade is turning consumers into software users who must be licensed, which makes per seat licensing impractical.
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