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Loudcloud to host AOL's e-commerce software

America Online says it has signed a deal with the e-commerce software services provider to host and manage some of its e-commerce technologies.

    America Online on Tuesday said it has signed a deal with e-commerce software services provider Loudcloud to host and manage some of its e-commerce technologies.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Loudcloud will maintain the merchant piece of America Online's QuickCheckout wallet technology, and future shopping technologies developed by the Internet giant, and offer them as part of the set of infrastructure software services Loudcloud sells to its customers, the companies said in a joint statement.

    Sunnyvale-based Loudcloud, the brainchild of Internet wunderkind and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, wants businesses to turn to it for maintenance and management of their Internet sites, including the e-commerce technology they are using. Loudcloud, formed in September 1999, offers Internet infrastructure services needed to deploy, maintain and run online operations.

    Tuesday's deal comes as Andreessen prepares his company to go public. Earlier in the month, Loudcloud increased the number of shares it plans to offer in an IPO scheduled for early March. Although many companies have shied away from IPOs as the market has struggled to rebound from a sharp decline that began last year, Loudcloud's offering has been highly anticipated because of Andreessen's involvement.

    Loudcloud boasts strong customer and partner lists, but it has struggled to live up to expectations set by its own executives and outside observers, bogged down by the sobering truths of today's Internet market slowdown.

    The new deal with Dulles, Va.-based America Online, the Internet subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, expands Loudcloud's number of partners to about 40, according to a partner list provided on its Web site.

    Quick Checkout enables customers to enter routinely requested information, such as credit card numbers and shipping addresses, so that they can save time and make future online transactions more easily, according to the companies.