The partnership will help introduce Entrust's software, which relies on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology, into a fast-growing market, according to executives. The Plano, Texas, company has focused on the business-to-consumer market.
The deal could be a big coup for Entrust, which is vying with VeriSign, GTE's CyberTrust and other firms to secure online transactions using PKI--essentially, digital certificates of authenticity.
The business e-commerce market has been heating up as analysts project huge revenues and investors pour money into the shares of business-oriented e-commerce firms. Industry watchers estimate that the market will grow from $131 billion last year to anywhere from $2.7 trillion to $7.3 trillion in 2004.
Last week, Ariba announced that it will create a business-to-business exchange for the travel and transportation industry. Today, "name your price" site Priceline.com announced that it will expand into the business market.
"As 'B2B' continues to grow at an explosive rate, delivering higher degrees of trust to e-commerce transactions and business relationships becomes increasingly important," Dave Rome, vice president of alliances at Ariba, said in a statement.
Entrust shares gained $10.06, or 11 percent, to close at $98.94 today, while Ariba shares dropped $12.98, or 4 percent, to close at $317. Despite the drop, Ariba's shares are up more than 2600 percent since its June public offering.