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IBM upgrades e-commerce lineup

Broadening its offerings, Big Blue announces new versions of its software for Internet commerce and payments.

Broadening its e-commerce offerings, IBM (IBM) announced new versions of its software today for Internet commerce and payments.

Big Blue also announced an initiative to make it easier for customers to link IBM's Net.Commerce software to other applications, including those of enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors. The "commerce extensibility framework," a Java-based set of application programming interfaces, will include adapters between Net.Commerce and inventory management systems. No dates for availability were released.

The new e-commerce software includes different versions for companies of different sizes. Lotus Domino Merchant 2.0 Server Pack, including the Domino Web server, is designed for smaller companies and is due to ship by the end of the month.

Net.Commerce Start adds a store creation wizard and IBM's eTill merchant "cash register" software for accepting Internet payments. The software is offered with services from IBM Global Services and IBM resellers to get Web storefronts up quickly.

Net.Commerce Pro, designed for large enterprises, adds advanced catalog tools that include search methods and "shopping advisers." It also comes with back-end integration tools to integrate with legacy IBM software plus SAP's R/3 and electronic data interchange (EDI) software.

For its payment software, IBM is making its eTill available on IBM's System 390 mainframe platform and on Sun Solaris. IBM's payment gateway software for financial institutions also is available on System 390.

Karl Salnoske, IBM's general manager for e-commerce, also said Big Blue has reached no conclusions yet on the validity of broad e-commerce patents that rival Open Market announced it had been granted last week.

In addition, IBM announced several Net.Commerce customers, including gadget store Brookstone and outdoor sporting goods store Recreational Equipment Incorporated, a former Netscape customer.

The company also announced relationships with payments firm ICVerify, Comm-Press, and security software firm Netegrity.