Everyone claims leadership on B2B

Microsoft, as might be expected, reacts to Oracle's assessment of the relative competitive position in B2B by arguing that Microsoft is well ahead.

Microsoft, as might be expected, reacts to Oracle’s assessment of its relative competitive position in B2B by arguing that Microsoft is well ahead.

Oracle says it has moved into a significant second phase of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce with three new products - Supply Chain Exchange, Transportation Exchange and Product Development Exchange.

But Microsoft business development supply manager Terry Allen says Oracle is relatively late to the field.

"We have had supply-chain co-ordination for some years,” he says. “It’s being used successfully by Barnes & Noble and Dell, and locally by Supplyzone.”

The core product is Biztalk, Microsoft’s XML implementation. Within that, Microsoft has an offering called Orchestration, which Allen says handles the co-ordination of the supply-chain. However, developing applications specific to particular customers would still involve business analysts. Oracle suggests it has more ready-made offerings.

“Shared product development applications can be built in XML” - again, with consultant partners, and transport co-ordination is a “standard part of Biztalk,” Allen says.

SAP solution campaign manager Ulli Froelich says his company is well up with the play too. "We are delivering a complete solution for supply chain management" including all the aspects that Oracle's new products handle, he says.

Modules for these purposes are developed with the same approach as SAP's "backbone" applications - those formerly known as R3, in that they are packged products, but need tailring to the user's specific needs.

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