Dell Opens E-Marketplace for Customers

FRAMINGHAM (03/20/2000) - A new alliance between Ariba Inc. and Dell Computer Corp. will open up business-to-business e-commerce opportunities for small and medium-size businesses, analysts said.

Dell, in an announcement last week, said it will use Ariba's e-commerce software to create a business-to-business marketplace for its customers, linking them to the Ariba network. The alliance will streamline the procurement process for businesses and improve their purchasing power with vendors, the company said.

"It's a first step for Dell and other vendors to build [e-commerce] superstores," said analyst Simon Yates at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The deal may be a particular boon for Dell because it will let it target small and midsize businesses with an added level of service, some analysts said.

"It's going to make it more compelling for Dell customers to remain Dell customers, and it's going to make a better argument for those with Dell's competitors to switch over," said Erica Rugullies, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Among the services that will be available on the network are electronic payment systems that Ariba and American Express Co. will develop jointly.

Dell said its PowerEdge servers with the Ariba application will be available in the second quarter, and access to the business-to-business marketplace will be available by the third quarter.

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