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E-commerce growth fuels B2B market, study says

Sales in the business-to-business software market are expected to explode in the next few years as e-commerce continues to grow, a new study finds.

Sales in the business-to-business software market are expected to explode in the next few years as e-commerce grows, a new study found.

A new study released by The Delphi Group says the market for software that companies use to develop their businesses online is expected to grow from $5 billion today to close to $40 billion in 2002.

The Boston-based research firm said the market, which includes firms like Ariba and Commerce One, more than doubled from 1998 to 1999.

The market for software is just one part of the larger business-to-business e-commerce industry. Such software tools are used to build systems that handle Web transactions, track inventory, or collect other business information.

Shares in firms that build the business services market have soared in recent months. And with good cause: the market for business-to-business transactions is expected to grow to $5 trillion by 2002, according to analyst estimates.

In a separate survey last week, research firm Gartner Group reported the worldwide business services market would grow from $145 billion in 1999 to about 7 percent of the forecasted $105 trillion market for all global sales transactions in 2004. Both software makers and the companies running Net markets, or exchanges, are expected to benefit from the surge.

"I'm getting calls from start-up companies launching new hubs about 15 times a week," said Erica Rugullies, analyst at Giga Information Group. "That growth spreads to those companies providing the software."