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Microsoft and IBM to clash in e-commerce

Report predicts big showdown

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A new report by Gartner Group positions the leading e-commerce software vendors, and predicts a platform showdown between IBM and Microsoft. But everybody still has a long way to go. IBM and Microsoft are the only platform players, and will slug it out in what Gartner says is going to be a very large market. Their approach is large-scale; both companies are offering e-commerce platforms or toolkits, and intend to leverage component models in order to build e-commerce infrastructure offerings that will apply across all industries. Of the other contenders Open Market and InterWorld are currently heavily consumer market focused, and need to add business-to-business functionality in order to increase their competitiveness. Netscape is said to have ample business trade functionality, but needs to open its interfaces to allow customers to extend the core function of their software. Most established players in the buy-side business-to-business market are Ariba, Commerce One and Netscape, but the market is still formative, and installation is a major systems integration headache. Gartner intends to explore e-commerce further at its Symposium/ITxpo 98 next month in Florida. It seems however to have neglected to tell us what the e-commerce report is actually called. ®

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