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Ariba strengthens its software ties

IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers detail their software relationships with the business-to-business software maker, announcing tighter integration and expanded services.

    IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers detailed their software relationships with Ariba, the business-to-business software maker said Tuesday, announcing tighter integration and expanded services.

    Big Blue said it will support Ariba products in its WebSphere integration software including MQSeries enterprise application integration technology, WebSphere Application Server, and BtoB Integrator. Ariba makes software for building and managing online exchanges to connect buyers and suppliers online.

    Laurie Orlov, an analyst with Forrester Research, called the further integration by IBM "good for Ariba." The IBM deal represents an expansion of a deal Ariba and IBM announced last year with i2 Technologies, another e-commerce software maker.

    However, i2 has been noticeably absent from many of the more recent announcements between IBM and Ariba as i2 has increasingly targeted the business-to-business procurement space with new technology and acquisitions, leading many to speculate about the survivability of the team.

    The PricewaterhouseCoopers deal calls for Ariba and the consulting company to speed up the delivery of online private exchanges, collaborative e-business applications, private trading networks, and services for their customers. The agreement is an expansion of a previous deal struck in 1999.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers is involved in 50 private exchange initiatives. Private exchanges and marketplaces differ from their public counterparts in that public marketplaces are built to connect buyers with a host of suppliers while private exchanges are built by one company for its own suppliers and business partners.

    Ariba, which named a new CEO on Monday and has suffered some disappointments in recent months, made the announcements at its Ariba Live 2001 conference in Las Vegas. The company, which has felt the effects of a slowing economy and the slow adoption of business-to-business exchanges by companies, said last month it canceled its merger with Agile Software and would trim a third of its work force because of a drop in sales.

    Ariba's stock, which was trading around $8.70 Tuesday, is well below a 52-week high of $173.50.