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Qwest launches e-commerce line

Shortly after receiving a $200 million investment from Microsoft, Qwest introduces Q.Commerce, a series of e-commerce products and services targeted at businesses.

    Only a few months after receiving a $200 million investment from Microsoft, Qwest Communications announced the introduction of Q.Commerce, a series of e-commerce products and services targeted at businesses.

    The first offering from the service will be Q.Commerce-Retail, which allows traditional retailers to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon by creating and operating Web-based storefronts.

    In December, software giant Microsoft took a 1.33 percent stake in Qwest, as both companies said they would delve deeper into electronic commerce, Web hosting, and other mission-critical business software applications and services.

    Qwest said today that its retail offering includes high-speed Internet access, managed Web hosting services, hardware, software consulting, design and graphics, direct merchandising assistance, and site promotion.

    These services are considered vital in order for retailers to fully capitalize on the explosive Internet commerce market. According to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales, excluding automobiles, will grow from $7.8 billion in 1998 to $108 billion by 2003.

    "This new service effectively blends Qwest's communications and consulting capabilities with Microsoft's leading edge Windows NT-based Site Server Commerce Edition software, so companies can leverage the Internet to establish an ongoing relationship with their customers through the Web," Scott Baxter, president of Qwest's Internet Solutions division, said in a statement.

    The Q.Commerce-Retail offering is based on Microsoft Windows NT server operating system and Qwest's Internet protocol-based fiber optic network.

    Over the past year, Qwest has been on a tear, cutting one deal after another, as the youthful long distance carrier focuses on building the biggest packet-switched network the industry has ever seen. The telco has previously noted that building a network is not a profit-making venture--but that selling services on a network is.

    Qwest expects data traffic to eventually account for the majority of the transmissions on its 18,449 miles of fiber, or about two-thirds of the traffic by the year 2000.