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SAP to launch online healthcare marketplace

The German software maker announces plans to partner with, an online business-to-business healthcare services provider, to launch an online healthcare marketplace.

SAP today announced plans to partner with to launch an online healthcare marketplace.

Announced at the eBusiness Conference & Expo in New York this week, German software giant SAP said, an online business-to-business healthcare services provider, will use SAP's marketplace to create a global exchange for the healthcare industry.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The new marketplace will serve as a global online network to unite healthcare providers and medical suppliers to exchange information and buy and sell medical supplies and equipment, SAP said in a statement.

In recent months, a growing number of software companies have been building online marketplaces as business-to-business e-commerce grows. Forrester Research expects the industry to expand to $1.52 trillion in 2003 from about $131 billion this year.

SAP is joining its competitors--including Oracle, PeopleSoft and others--in the move toward providing the plumbing required to support e-commerce communities.

SAP rival Oracle has made an aggressive push in the business-to-business space. Last month, the database giant announced a joint venture with Ford called AutoXchange, which will connect the car maker to its global materials and parts suppliers over the Net. Oracle also recently started signing up buyers to be part of its own online trading marketplace, Oracle Exchange, which will be used to build industry-specific trading communities online, where companies will buy, sell or auction goods and services.

In related news, SAP announced plans to start a business-to-business marketplace for material repairs and supplies for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

The company said chemical giant BASF will join the marketplace as a buyer, along with healthcare equipment manufacturer Siemens as a seller. The exchange will launch during the second quarter of 2000, the company said in a statement.