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MS, Oracle lay commerce ground

Microsoft and Oracle beef up their offers for Internet commerce, signing up new partners and adding supporters for their initiatives.

Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL) both beefed up their offers for Internet commerce today, signing up new partners and adding supporters for their e-commerce initiatives.

The Internet payment system from First Virtual Holdings (FVHI) will be integrated with the next version of Microsoft's Merchant Server software.

First Virtual's payment scheme uses email and a "VirtualPIN" for Internet payments, not Net-borne credit card data. Instead, First Virtual charges the customer's credit card on secure, established financial networks. Sellers can use the VirtualPIN system to bill products or renewable services such as magazine subscriptions or association membership fees.

Microsoft also announced retail industry support for its ActiveX-based retail architecture initiative, including endorsements from Boston Market, Burger King, Italy's Coin, Australia's Coles Myer, Dayton Hudson, HoneyBaked Ham, Inacom, Shell Oil Products, and Software Spectrum. Hardware vendor Tandem Computer also backs Microsoft's retail strategy.

In addition, Microsoft will sponsor retail architecture initiative developers conference April 3 to 4 in Seattle and a business seminar May 19 in Chicago.

Oracle's Project Apollo Internet merchant server won a convert when Richter Systems announced it will integrate its RAMS 2000 (retail automated merchandising system) into that company's e-commerce platform. RAMS 2000 is also available on Sun Microsystems' new JavaStation network computer.

"Richter?s RAMS 2000 is one of the first specialty retailer applications to provide support for Web-based retailing and electronic commerce," Scott Lundstrom, an e-commerce analyst at Advanced Manufacturing Research, said in a statement.

Separately, at the National Retail Federation Show in New York City, Canada-based Mpact Immedia introduced BuyWay, its Internet purchasing and payment service for the Internet, which supports both credit cards and bank-account electronic fund transfers (EFTs). It runs Microsoft Windows NT with Tandem hardware.

Internet merchants can connect to suppliers via fax, email, and electronic data interchange (EDI). BuyWay uses industry-standard security and will incorporate future security standards, including the new Secure Electronic Transactions standard being developed by MasterCard and Visa International.

Signal Software introduced an Internet commerce application suite called SpeedWay for wholesale automotive parts distributors. SpeedWay is a business-to-business application that lets aftermarket wholesalers streamline their distribution network and simplify order entry.