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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

IBM gives early gift to Net retailers

Big Blue next month plans to refresh its e-commerce software with performance improvements so that online retailers will be ready for the fall's holiday shopping glut.

IBM is giving its customers an early holiday gift.

Big Blue next month plans to refresh its e-commerce software and catalog-creation tools, including performance improvements so online retailers don't choke on heavy traffic during this fall's anticipated holiday shopping crush.

In addition to the 3.2 version of Net.commerce and an upgrade to Catalog Architect, IBM announced a relationship with catalog technology company Interwoven. The partnership will help make it easier for companies to move content from existing catalogs or stores into their Web storefront. Steve Robins, senior analyst at Yankee Group, thinks the catalog initiative is key to online retailers.

"Content is what ultimately brings people to your site, and IBM is doing as much to enable the content as to enable transactions and integration into the back end," Robins said.

To avoid holiday "brown-outs" from too many shoppers at one time, IBM has improved performance and scalability of Net.commerce. Frank Giannantonio, a vice president with the online division of big offline retailer The Limited, said his Web sites--including Victoria's Secret--have experienced a 50-percent improvement in performance using a beta version of the new Net.commerce.

Big Blue also is working with Linguistics Technology, which lets shoppers ask search questions aloud if their PCs are equipped with audio technology.