iEC: Microsoft launches e-commerce initiatives

Microsoft announced three electronic commerce initiatives here yesterday in an effort to partner with companies that will help it offer one-stop shopping for businesses setting up storefronts on the Internet.

The announcements included: the Microsoft Commerce Alliance Program, in which the company is joining with hundreds of partners to offer integrated e-commerce applications; the OneSoft Certified Commerce Solution Provider (O2CSP), with OneSoft; and a WebPurchasing Program, with MasterCard International and Clarus.

The partnerships are all designed to add industry and application-specific knowledge and technology to Microsoft software including Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition, Internet Information Server, Transaction Server, SQL Server, Windows NT and BizTalk.

Microsoft is hoping that by partnering with hardware, software and integration services companies, it can help businesses put together Web sites and business-to-business applications more quickly than ever before, according to company officials here.

"E-commerce by definition is about integration," said Satya Nadella, general manager for Commerce Platforms in Microsoft's Consumer and Commerce Group. "It's very important for us to pull together complete solutions."

Microsoft made the announcement at the fifth annual Internet & Electronic Commerce Conference & Exposition (iEC), organised by market research and consulting company GartnerGroup.

Some 200 companies have joined the E-Commerce Alliance for its launch this week, but Microsoft expects that number to grow to 500 within a year, according to Nadella.

The partners in the alliance will help Microsoft put together e-commerce applications for a variety of purposes and industry segments, such as online retailing and supply-chain automation, according to Michael Pinckney, e-commerce industry marketing manager for Microsoft's Applications Developer Customer Unit.

"We have a diverse array of partners . . . to provide customers with one-stop shopping for complete solutions, to go from nothing to a complete site," Pinckney said. The alliance provides companies with one number to call to talk to someone about putting together an online application, and one number for service and support once the application is built, he said.

Companies in the alliance include leading technology and financial organisations such as Baan, Compaq, Ernst & Young LLP, J.D. Edwards & Co, Pandesic LLC and Wang Global. More specific information on the alliance can be obtained at http://www.microsoft.com/dns/commerceThe other Microsoft initiatives announced yesterday were:

--The OneSoft Certified Commerce Solution Provider (O2CSP), with OneSoft. OneSoft has built financial models that show how businesses in various industries can profit from doing business online. The O2CSP program is a joint marketing and development program in which Microsoft and OneSoft will work with companies to deploy e-commerce applications using Microsoft technology and OneSoft-designed site-creation templates designed to get companies up and running on the Web within 90 days. More information can be found at http://www.onesoft.com/O2CSP--The WebPurchasing Program, from Microsoft, MasterCard and Clarus. The three partners will work together to create and jointly market online purchasing applications. The applications will be designed to let companies manage maintenance and operations expenses. More information on the program can be accessed at http://www.webpurchasing.comMicrosoft http://www.microsoft.com

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