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IBM, Microsoft sign partners for e-commerce standard

The alliance between Big Blue and the software giant to build with Ariba an online Yellow Pages for companies looking to conduct business online gains industry support.

Ariba, IBM and Microsoft have signed on more than 30 technology companies to support their plan to build a giant online Yellow Pages for companies looking to conduct business online.

As CNET News.com first reported, the three companies are proposing a Web standard and a new initiative that will let businesses register in an online database. The database will help companies advertise their services and find each other so they can conduct transactions over the Web.

In the announcement today, executives from Ariba, IBM and Microsoft said they signed on 33 other companies that will take part in the effort. Companies include American Express, Commerce One, Compaq Computer, Dell Computer, Loudcloud, Nortel Networks, NTT Communications, SAP, Sun Microsystems and Tibco Software, among others.

The proposed standard, called Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI), will allow businesses to describe the type of services they offer and will allow those services to be located by other businesses via the online directory.

The directory will be an online marketplace larger in scope than previous attempts to list businesses online. It will not be limited to a specific industry and will list companies participating in any business. Companies would be required to register themselves but could then be found automatically by potential customers. A test version of the directory is expected to go online in about 30 days.

The proposed standard is based on Extensible Markup Language (XML), a Web standard for data exchange that is rapidly becoming the preferred language of online business.