IBM, Ariba and i2 Technologies have teamed up in an attempt to provide integrated end-to-end services for business to business (B2B) ecommerce customers.
The aim of the alliance is to help firms develop marketplaces where they can buy and sell goods and services to each another, and to enable them to integrate the marketplaces into their supply chains.
The three companies also plan to offer a suite of applications and services, which include payment, logistics, auction and collaboration. These will be available to customers to buy or to rent over the internet.
William Etherington, senior vice president and group executive of IBM's sales and distribution unit, said: "IBM, Ariba and i2 have taken the best of what we each have to offer and created a solution and set of tools that will immediately allow customers, whether they want to improve internal efficiencies or become market makers, to not only get in the game, but to win."
He added that Big Blue would also use the service to undertake much of its own $45bn annual procurement.
To strengthen the deal, IBM intends to take an undisclosed equity stake in Ariba, which sells software and services aimed at the B2B marketplace, and i2, which sells software for building internet portals.
The three will focus on integrating their technology and undertaking joint global marketing, and four joint demonstration centres are planned for the US, Europe and Asia.
Specifically, IBM will integrate i2's Tradematrix marketplace software and Ariba's B2B ecommerce environment with its own software, which includes the Websphere application server, the Websphere Commerce Suite, its DB2 relational database and MQ Series asynchronous messaging software.
GartnerGroup predicts that by 2004, internet marketplaces will handle $2.71tn in sales, or 2.6 per cent of expected worldwide transactions.
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