Broadening its e-commerce offerings, IBM
is slated to announce this week that it will add a version of its
e-commerce software to ISPs and Web hosting services.
The new offering includes server software with tools, management, and
administrative services designed for ISPs to offer e-commerce services to
small and midsize enterprises. The ISP version of IBM's software lets
merchants to move from the hosted offering to running their own storefront
operations, said David Liederbach, director of e-commerce marketing for
IBM's software division.
"Small and midsized ISPs and larger ISPs can extend beyond basic ISP
services to provide commerce applications," Liederbach said, noting that
many Internet services providers are looking for incremental revenue.
IBM enters a market where Open
Market has found some success selling its e-commerce software to large
ISPs to host multiple storefronts for customers. Liederbach's comments
suggest IBM will pursue smaller ISPs with its offerings.
"We are finding there are 14,000 ISPs worldwide, and Open Market has a
collection of customers at high end of marketplace, but there's a whole
range of them looking at systems based on open standards and open
architectures," Liederbach said.
"When IBM moves, they have a sizable impact due to their mass," said Jim
Balderston, analyst at Zona
Big Blue will join other major IT vendors targeting the ISP market as the
ISPcom trade show opens in San
Jose, California. Hewlett Packard today
unveiled a strategy designed to wean ISPs off Sun Microsystems' hardware, and Netscape Communications cofounder Marc
Andreessen is expected to announce an ISP offering in his keynote tomorrow.
Silicon Graphics has scheduled a news
conference for tomorrow on its ISP strategy.
IBM's software includes both tools for merchants to create a Web storefront
in as little as 20 minutes and tools for ISPs to manage large numbers of
hosted Net stores. The ISP tools include multiple ways to bill storefronts.
The software, due to ship in December, is designed so merchants can create
a Web storefront in 20 minutes. For ISPs, the offering includes management
tools for billing, administration, and aspects of running a commerce
service provider operation.
IBM Global Network is deploying much of the technology for the storefronts that IBM
hosts for merchants, and HP's Nigel Ball thinks ISPs will view IBM as a
competitor, not a software provider.
The ISP-hosted version of IBM's Net.Commerce lets merchants use a
downloadable Java applet to create catalog pages and a Web storefront.
The offering includes IBM's payment server and the ability to use CyberCash's credit card processing
The ISP version of Net.Commerce is due to ship in December on Windows NT,
AIX, and Solaris operating systems. It utilizes Web Sphere load-balancing
technologies that IBM announced earlier this month. Pricing for the
software has not been announced.