FRAMINGHAM (03/24/2000) - RealNames Corp., a San Carlos, Calif.-based maker of technology that substitutes simple keywords for complex Web addresses, is making its service available worldwide. A new subsidiary, called RealNames International Corp., will operate in Europe, South and Central America, Africa, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong, the company said.

Microsoft Corp., which announced earlier this month that it's buying a 20 percent stake in RealNames, said it will use the keyword service in its portal sites around the world. The international service will let users in foreign countries navigate the Web using keywords in their native languages.

A new electronic marketplace was created last week for the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry by Inc., an HVAC/R Internet supply-chain management business in Memphis. The marketplace links buyers and sellers in a single site that allows HVAC/R service companies to compare and purchase parts from major manufacturers and suppliers. Initially, parts will be distributed from a central distribution center, but announced plans to offer local availability this spring.

Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) last week inked a deal with St. Paul, Minn.-based Lawson Software.

TIAA-CREF, the New York-based retirement system for education and research institutions, plans to use Lawson's human resources and payroll software.

"Lawson's comprehensive functionality and advanced Web technologies were key factors in their favor, along with the company's commitment to serving the financial services industry," said William Shanahan, vice president for human resources at TIAA-CREF. "We expect Lawson's self-service features to improve information flow among managers and associates nationwide."

SAP AG announced last week that it's joining with a consortium of German chemical companies to develop an e-commerce business-to-business exchange for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

The joint venture, set up by SAP, BASF AG, Degussa-Huls AG, Henkel KGaA and Metallgesellschaft AG, is expected to be ready next month and will be open to companies around the world, SAP said in a statement.

Business-to-business Internet marketplace in Santa Clara, Calif., has named Bill Friend to its new 14-member advisory board. As group vice president, Friend manages information systems for multinational agribusiness J.

R. Simplot Co.'s Food Group in Boise, Idaho. is looking to the board to help establish and develop the site's strategic importance to the industrial sector of the food industry.

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