HP and Intel make their way to B2B effort

Hewlett-Packard and Intel said they will move forward with plans to join the universal description, discovery and integration (UDDI) project launched almost two months ago by Microsoft, Ariba and IBM.

The UDDI initiative is an attempt to link e-commerce sites via a unified protocol for identifying products and services. Microsoft, Ariba and IBM designed this virtual Yellow Pages on an open-sourced model and have encouraged widespread industry adoption of the exchange. While companies like Dell Computer, Compaq Computer, SAP AG, Nortel Networks and around 75 other vendors have already signed on, HP and Intel had remained cool to the effort until now.

In a speech delivered at the end of September, Carly Fiorina, president, chief executive officer and chairman of HP, said that her company's e-speak technology delivered capabilities far beyond what UDDI can currently provide. Fiorina said at the time that HP was "judiciously evaluating" joining the program.

On Thursday however, HP said joining the UDDI project would prove the company's ongoing commitment to open standards. UDDI representatives said HP's e-speak technology would provide a useful contribution to the project.

HP also said its involvement should help bring additional customers and partners to UDDI, according to a release.

Intel also signed on to the project earlier this week. An Intel spokesman said the chip maker waited on the sidelines until the project seemed more finalised.

"We made the decision because e-business is where we think the future of our company lies," the spokesman said.

The UDDI directory aims to help companies find clients by name, location, the services they can provide and the types of technology the company uses and supports in transactions. Microsoft, Ariba and IBM will maintain the servers or data collection points for the effort for the next year and a half. At that point, an as yet unnamed standards body will oversee the project, the companies said.

An intitial version of the directory containing basic categorisation and service listings is expected to be announced next week. Updates to the registry are scheduled to appear in March 2001 and December 2001, with more complex features added for varying types of B2B transactions at each step.

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