IBM Shows Auction Software for Net.Commerce

IBM Corp. today detailed enhancements it has made to its Net.Commerce server and offered customers who use certain versions of the product a sneak peak at a software package that allows them to set up e-commerce auctions on the Internet.

Enhancements to the Net.Commerce product include support for the Euro currency, which is due to be introduced on Jan. 1, 1999.

IBM has also forged new relationships with 18 of its software partners whose applications can be used with Net.Commerce for functions like merchandising, customer service, supply chain management, payments and enterprise resource planning, IBM said in a statement.

Finally, IBM announced pricing and availability for its Net.Commerce Hosting Server, an integrated software package for Internet service providers (ISPs) that lets them offer hosted electronic commerce services to small and large businesses.

The hosting software is due to be available on the Windows NT and AIX platforms on Dec. 18, and on the Sun Solaris platform on Jan. 29, 1999, IBM said. Pricing for the Net.Commerce Hosting Server will be US$12,499 for the first processor, including five merchant licenses; $9,999 for each additional processor; $499 for a single merchant license; and $450 per license for 50 merchants, IBM said.

Meanwhile, the auction software is available to customers for limited internal testing and evaluation, and can be downloaded for free from IBM's Web site by customers who use NetCommerce versions 3.1 and 3.1.1 on Windows NT. The download is at http://www.software.ibm.com/commerce/net.commerce/auction.html/.

The software package will be suitable for auctioning products to both consumers and businesses, and allows firms to set up an auction, accept bids, and evaluate bids at the close of auction, IBM said.

A forms-based interface allows merchants to take a product from the Net.Commerce catalog and place it up for a variety of auction types, including open-cry, sealed bid and Dutch auction. Buyers have a graphical interface to search for auctions and place a bid in an auction, IBM said.

Big Blue is apparently unsure if it will make the product generally available, however, judging by the conditional language it used on the download site: "Upon general availability of this software, if any, it could be used to enable merchants to conduct auctions on the Internet with minimal effort," IBM said.

The 18 business partners offering e-commerce software for Net.Commerce are: Assist CornerStone Technologies, CyberCash, CyberSource, Datasul, e2 Software Corp., EuroSoft, Information Builders Inc., Ironside Technologies, Magic Consulting Australia, Netcentives, net.Genesis Corp., Paciolan, PaylinX, Seagate Software, Simware, SNS/Assure Corp., United Parcel Services (UPS), and VideoServer.

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, can be reached at +1-914-765-1900 or on the Web at http://www.ibm.com/.

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