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iPlanet unveils Net marketplace tools

The company announces a bundle of software, servers and services that aim to help build online marketplaces.

iPlanet today announced a bundle of software, servers and services to help companies build their online marketplaces.

iPlanet, the alliance between Sun Microsystems and Netscape Communications, said its new Market Maker framework will help businesses build open, online marketplaces. Market Maker consists of iPlanet's existing e-commerce software, integration services and Web servers. By setting up Internet marketplaces or trading exchanges, companies are hoping they can reduce their internal purchasing costs by using the Web to link to their suppliers and partners.

iPlanet is joining a growing list of companies that are trying to offer a quick, easy and repeatable way to help companies develop online marketplaces. Yesterday, Web consulting firm Breakaway Solutions unveiled a similar offering called MarketMover. This program offers businesses a Web strategy, systems integration and application hosting services from Breakaway, along with specialized e-commerce software from partners such as RightWorks and CommerceQuest.

In recent months, most efforts in the lucrative business e-commerce market have taken place in the area of building online marketplaces or trading exchanges for specific industries. Companies selling specialized software and offering online exchanges, such as iPlanet and rivals Commerce One and Ariba, say they promise to dramatically cut the cost of doing business by helping businesses move their existing supply chain, which includes partners and suppliers, to the Internet.

iPlanet's package consists of the pre-configured iPlanet Market Maker framework and an integrated family of iPlanet e-commerce applications, the company said in a statement. This includes software that automates online transactions for both sellers and buyers, and iPlanet's Web-based trading applications. iPlanet's software products included in this offering will be built to work with its application directory server, Web Server, and portal server, but the company said it will also help integrate competitors' e-commerce software into the system depending on clients' needs.

Additionally, iPlanet said its Market Maker is a flexible framework that will enable a company to customize its own marketplace to meet specific requirements.

The offering will be made available by the fall of 2000, the company said. Pricing was not disclosed, but iPlanet intends to charge up-front software license and subscription fees.