IBM drops digital wallet product

IBM will stop selling its Consumer Wallet e-commerce software package in early June, an IBM spokeswoman confirmed on Friday.

The application worked in conjunction with Web browsing software and aimed to provide users with the ability to make purchases online in a streamlined and secure fashion. It was introduced in 1999 as part of a push to reduce consumer qualms about e-commerce.

IBM spokeswoman Nancy Riley said the Consumer Wallet is being eliminated because it has become redundant: As e-commerce became routine and secure-transmission standards such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) gained popularity, consumers had no need for add-on shopping software. Riley declined to disclose how many users the product has attracted.

IBM will continue user support of the Consumer Wallet until January 2002.

MasterCard International Inc. partnered with IBM to distribute its own branded version of the Consumer Wallet through its member banks, and to offer those banks their own private-label wallets. Asked about IBM's decision to scrap the Consumer Wallet, a MasterCard spokeswoman was unaware that IBM is discontinuing the product and unsure of the initiative's current status at MasterCard.

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