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Compaq gets into e-commerce

The company takes a minority equity stake in Inex, a provider of Internet commerce applications that help customers set up shop online quickly.

    Compaq Computer took its efforts to offer e-commerce solutions a step further today by taking a minority equity stake in Inex, a provider of Internet commerce applications that help customers set up shop online quickly.

    Compaq started its aggressive push into the e-commerce market in March through its deal with Inex, as well as through other announcements that included the introduction of hardware and software ranging from desktops optimized for electronic retailing to enterprise payment and security systems targeted at banks and Internet service providers.

    Today's investment comes on the heels of recent partnership announcements from the two companies.

    Compaq, for its part, entered into an agreement to become a distributor for the Inex Commerce suite of products, and to bundle versions of the products on their small business desktops.

    This deal extends Compaq's e-commerce efforts for small- to mid-sized businesses.

    Inex's products aid a small- or medium-sized business in putting up an initial storefront on the Web in 24 hours or less, said the companies.

    But Compaq is committed to making electronic business a market reality for businesses of all sizes, Kenny Kurtzman, vice president of Compaq's small- and medium-sized business division, said in a statement.

    At one end of the spectrum was Compaq's deal with Inex, in which it will release a desktop bundled with an e-commerce suite from Inex.

    Next, Compaq will be offering specially configured ProLiant servers with Microsoft's commerce server, along with firewall software from Raptor.

    For institutions, the company will release the "iTP Certificate Solution"--a collection of enterprise applications designed to handle large volumes of secure transactions. That collection, built in conjunction with its Tandem division, will sell for several thousand dollars and will be sold to financial institutions separately or with high-end servers.

    "This financing ensures our rapid roll-out of turnkey Internet commerce solutions to small and medium businesses worldwide," Alex Barrotti, founder and CEO of Inex, said in a statement.

    Based in Toronto, Inex provides a suite of scalable Internet commerce applications.

    The amount of Compaq's investment was not disclosed.