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Andersen, Web software aggregator team on venture

The management consultant and Jamcracker are planning a service to provide businesses with hosted, Web-based applications such as billing, sales force automation and human resources management.

Andersen Consulting and Jamcracker announced Tuesday a partnership to develop a service to deliver several hosted, Web-based applications to businesses.

As part of the agreement, management consulting firm Andersen said it is taking an equity stake in Jamcracker through its venture capital unit, AC Ventures. The companies did not disclose the specifics of the investment or the agreement.

The move comes just one week after Jamcracker secured $100 million in funding at a time when most investors have grown wary of placing bets on Web companies. But Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Jamcracker is playing in the sizzling application service provider (ASP) market, which is still in its infancy and set for huge growth.

New York-based Andersen will work with Jamcracker, an aggregator of Web-based applications, to develop a new service that integrates software written for tasks including billing, sales force automation and human resources management. Initially, Andersen and Jamcracker will focus on the U.S. market, but they plan eventually to move into Europe and other regions.

Under the pact, Andersen will help expand Jamcracker's products and services to a channel of larger, more established businesses. Anderson formed the relationship as part of a broader strategy to provide application hosting services to its clients.

Jamcracker and other ASPs such as Corio, FutureLink and USinternetworking rent software applications to business customers for a monthly fee, relieving small and midsized companies of the need to handle server computers, software licenses, and other infrastructure and management chores.