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PeopleSoft joins race to build business exchanges

The company launches PeopleSoft MarketPlace, an online trading exchange aimed at linking a massive base of suppliers, customers and employees for conducting business over the Net.

    PeopleSoft today launched the PeopleSoft MarketPlace, an online trading exchange aimed at linking a massive base of suppliers, customers and employees for conducting business over the Net.

    The business software maker's venture includes select PeopleSoft trading partners such as online travel provider Sabre and SkillsVillage, which helps match technology consultants to computer systems projects.

    Sellers also include members of Commerce One's global trading exchange, such as retail giants Boise Cascade, MicroWarehouse and Office Depot. PeopleSoft recently formed a partnership with e-commerce software maker Commerce One.

    PeopleSoft's effort to tackle the heavily touted business-to-business market follows earlier moves by competitors such as Oracle, SAP and J.D Edwards, all of which have primarily focused on developing industry-specific online exchanges.

    PeopleSoft and its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software competitors are shifting their focus to the more lucrative online trading exchanges as the demand for the core software slows. ERP software automates and manages a company's back-office functions, such as accounting and human resources needs.

    Last year, Oracle--one of the first ERP companies to tackle online exchanges--launched its own marketplace, called OracleExchange; it connects customers to a massive supplier base, including providers of office supplies, books, computers and temporary staffing.

    More recently, Oracle has signed partnerships with giants such as Sears Roebuck and Ford to create industry marketplaces that help companies and their suppliers in each niche market lower their internal purchasing costs by moving their supply chains to the Web.

    In March, SAP formed SAPMarkets, a subsidiary focused solely on building online marketplaces to facilitate transactions between suppliers and partners over the Internet.

    PeopleSoft today also unveiled its MarketPlace Solutions Division, a business unit to support its new marketplace, which will be led by former Oracle executive Kerry Lamson. At Oracle, Lamson served as vice president of applications marketing and was responsible for more than 40 product suites, including the company's Web, e-commerce, supply-chain and customer relationship-management software products.

    The MarketPlace business unit has more than 200 employees in charge of development, sales and marketing efforts, the company said.