Commerce One, the software company previously linked to Telecom's desire to deliver a virtual trading community, is at the hub of a planned worldwide network of trading portals called the Global Trading Web - but so is Clear Communications' owner, British Telecom.
Commerce One and several international telecommunications companies announced on Friday they had developed principles for operating the portal network.
Telecom NZ confirmed earlier this year that it had been talking to Commerce One, and the company sent a senior manager here in the expectation of a deal.
The group, calling itself the Global Trading Web Advisory Council, is composed predominantly of trading sites set up by telecommunications companies and includes British Telecom, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), Singapore Telecommunications Cable & Wireless Optus of Australia, and Commerce One.
About a month ago, Optus announced an agreement to develop an electronic marketplace portal - based on Commmerce One's MarketSite trading platform - for Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand was listed amongst the countries already part of the Global Trading Web, presumably on the basis of this proposal.
The standardisation of trading principles will help the companies to interact more easily as they further develop their procurement sites, they said.
"To bring business-to-business relations around the world, you have to create seamless communications across the Web," said Mark Hoffman, president and chief executive officer of Commerce One, at a news conference here.
Each company will operate a trading Web site, called a MarketSite, that will interconnect with each other, Hoffman said. The companies will use the sites for their own purchases and offer the service to their customers. Auctions and other features will be introduced in the near future.
"These are the early days of the global trading Web," said Anthony Peake, head of the BT MarketSite. "We are building a framework and we need to understand the differences in regulatory issues in various countries."
The members will share an average of $US1 for each transaction conducted through the portals, said Kit Robinson, a Commerce One spokesman. The Global Trading Web can be used by a variety of buying and selling applications, including Commerce One's BuySite or applications from Oracle, RightWorks, Intershop and SAP, the last two of which are used by Telecom.
Sites in the US Britain and Singapore are up and running, while the rest will be fully operational by early next year, Robinson said. The US site is http://www.marketsite.com. The U.K. site is http://www.marketsite.bt.com. Singapore's site can be reached through http://www.sesami.com.
Commerce One, in Walnut Creek, California, can be reached at +1-800-308-3838, or at http://www.commerceone.com.