Business e-commerce software maker Ariba today said it will
partner with Neoforma.com to create an online marketplace aimed at the
health care and medical equipment industry.
Neoforma.com, which already operates an e-commerce site for the medical
equipment and health products industry, said it will integrate Ariba's
business-to-business procurement software into its own system in order connect
a massive number of buyers and sellers over the Internet.
Financial terms of the deal were not
Ariba and rivals Commerce One, Oracle, SAP and a slew of others have been
racing to create large online marketplaces focusing on a number of specific
industries, hoping to help companies cut internal supply-chain and
purchasing costs by moving that process to the Internet. Ariba and
its competitors develop the software to power these online
marketplaces, or trading exchanges that link companies with their
suppliers, partners and buyers via the Web.
The market for business-to-business e-commerce is expected to explode in the
coming years, a dangling carrot for a wide range of technology
providers in recent months. Leading research firms have projected the market
to reach between $2.7 trillion and $7.3 trillion by 2004, from about $131
billion last year.
Today's deal is the latest in a string of marketplace deals that have popped
up in the recent business-to-business boom.
Last week, Ariba added food to
its growing menu of marketplaces after announcing a partnership with agricultural conglomerate Cargill. The two companies plan to build
Novopoint.com, an online marketplace that will link food and beverage
manufacturers to their suppliers and partners
over the Internet. It plans to launch the site this summer.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Neoforma, which partnered with SAP last November in
a similar deal, said that relationship is still intact and does not overlap
with today's pact. The company said it is continuing to work with
the German software giant to build an online health care marketplace that
targets an audience of medical suppliers and buyers operating on SAP
Neoforma said Ariba's software will be combined with existing features such
as order management and fulfillment, and medical product catalogs. The Ariba
product will help the company deliver a customized marketplace to trading
partners within the health care industry according to the industry's specific
needs, Neoforma said in a statement.