Ariba CEO: slide is over; Commerce One posts net loss

Business-to-business software vendor Ariba Inc. today announced that its revenue slide continued in the quarter just ended. But company CEO Robert Calderoni vowed that the slide is at an end, and he projected that Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Ariba will reach break-even status in June.

Ariba suffered a disastrous 2001 after what looked like a solid 2000. In the final quarter of 2000, the company brought in US$170 million in revenues and turned a profit.

Then Ariba proved to be one of the first casualties of the nation's economic plunge, going through three CEOs, slashing its workforce, ending its online marketplace product line and calling off its intended purchase of Agile Software Corp.

Ariba's revenues for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2001 were $55.3 million, down from $62.6 million the previous quarter. Its net loss for the quarter was $161 million.

Even so, Calderoni struck an upbeat tone today in an interview. He noted that Ariba's new sourcing product, which was designed to help a company find online trading partners and score bid submissions, constituted 30% of its new sales last quarter. Contract-adherence, invoicing and spend analysis tools will follow this quarter, he said.

All of the new products will be tied to Ariba's 40,000-member supplier network. "New revenues will either move sideways or up," Calderoni promised. "We've taken the hit."

While he said that no one can predict what will happen with the national economy, Calderoni said he expects U.S. sales to rebound.

"The U.S. market was the first to turn down this time last last year, and we think that [it] will be the first to recover," he said.

Meanwhile, Ariba rival Commerce One Inc. also reported its earnings today. The of Pleasanton, Calif.-based company's revenues dropped to $56 million from $81.1 million the previous quarter and $191 million in the final quarter of 2000.

Commerce One's net loss for the quarter totalled $168.3 million, or 59 cents per share. That's up from a net loss in the previous quarter of $119 million, or 45 cents per share.

Commerce One and Compaq Computer Corp. announced today that they had struck a deal to sell Commerce One software to small and medium-size organizations using Compaq hardware and business services.

The deal marks another partnering arrangement for the B2B vendor, which also has partnerships with SAP AG and Monrovia, Calif.-based SeeBeyond Technology Corp.

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