MS, VerticalNet Ink B2B E-Commerce Alliance

Microsoft Corp. and VerticalNet Inc. late yesterday announced a joint effort aimed at delivering business-to-business (B2B) electronic commerce services to small and medium-sized companies in vertical markets.

As part of a strategic alliance agreement, Microsoft will invest US$100 million in Horsham, Pennsylvania-based VerticalNet, which operates 55 industry-specific vertical trade Web sites, the companies said in a joint statement.

Microsoft will also provide VerticalNet with distribution and marketing support through several of its Internet units, including its small-business portal site bCentral and the MSN Internet service network, the companies said.

VerticalNet, in turn, promised to speed up its adoption of Microsoft products and technologies, including upgrading its operating system platform to Windows 2000 Professional Edition.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, contacted at +1-425-882-8080, or at, in Horsham, Pennsylvania, can be contacted at +1-215-328-6100, or at

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