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SAP, eBay join to unload excess goods

Customers of the German software giant can sell their used inventory on the auction site--an increasingly popular tactic among companies emptying their shelves during the downturn.

Customers of the German software giant can sell their used inventory on the auction site--an increasingly popular tactic among companies that seek to empty their shelves during the downturn.

Under the deal, announced Monday at SAP's international customer conference held in Orlando, Fla., companies will be able to use their existing SAP software systems to sell their idle assets on eBay. SAP said little additional investment is necessary to sell the goods, because it has integrated its technology with eBay's infrastructure.

A number of well-known retailers and manufacturers have sought similar partnerships with eBay to sell refurbished goods, including Hewlett-Packard, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Sears and Samsonite.

eBay and SAP's joint effort will involve eBay's application programming interfaces and data from SAP R/3 and mySAP CRM (customer relationship management) software. SAP's integration technology, NetWeaver, will be used to bridge eBay's infrastructure.

SAP's auction-management system automatically schedules eBay listings, aggregates product data, and generates and manages listings on the eBay marketplace.

The two companies said the service will be available in the first quarter of 2004 in the North American market, with the European market to follow.