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Oracle recruits buyers for online marketplace

The Oracle Exchange marketplace will be used to build industry-specific trading communities online, where companies will buy, sell or auction goods and services.

Los Angeles--Oracle today started signing up buyers to be part of its new online trading marketplace.

The marketplace, called the Oracle Exchange, will be used to build industry-specific trading communities online, where companies will buy, sell or auction goods and services.

Oracle is one of many business software makers--including SAP, PeopleSoft and others--that are moving to provide the plumbing required to support these sorts of commerce communities. Analysts say both buyers and sellers stand to save money and time by purchasing direct online, selling in bulk at auctions or soliciting bids for goods and services. But to succeed, all marketplaces need to gather a critical mass of users, they say.

Oracle, which will make money off charging fees for hosting transactions on the Exchange, today said it has already signed up 270 suppliers, distributors and content service providers for the marketplace--and will now bulk up on the buyer end.

Oracle Exchange is expected to open to both buyers and sellers in late January. The Exchange will be powered by Oracle's new Integration Server, which was announced here today at the database giant's trade show. The Oracle Integration Server includes business messaging software based on the Java programming language and Extensible Markup Language (XML), a popular Web standard that helps businesses exchange data. The software works with Oracle's database software, application server and development tools.

The company said the Exchange will enable employees who usually do the purchasing using catalogs to place their orders online with those same suppliers with whom they are already approved to work. Using the site, a seller could sell off excess inventory, in bulk, during an online auction, or use a reverse auction model to find what they need--which might be in scarce supply--from a supplier.

One of Oracle's customers, Ford, recently announced it will use the Exchange as the backbone for its new AutoXchange, an online auto supply chain network the company plans to have up and running next year. Oracle may have another similar deal on tap with American Express.

Amex today, as reported, has already linked an agreement with Tradex Technologies, which will provide the software platform to enable multiple sellers and buyers to exchange goods and services online on Amex's new B2B Commerce Network.

Amex's customers will eventually be able to access the marketplace through Amex's Amex@Work portal, which is expected to be available by the end of the year. The portal is intended to be used by corporate employees for booking travel, making hotel reservations, selling and buying online, and tracking corporate expenses.