Concert Joins With Commerce One on E-Procurement

Concert, the international telecom joint venture of AT&T Corp. and British Telecommunications PLC, today announced a deal to host and resell e-commerce platforms from Commerce One Inc.

Concert, which operates global IP (Internet Protocol), frame relay and voice networks, will sell Commerce One's BuySite electronic procurement application to its enterprise network customers.

In addition, Concert will establish a broad e-commerce portal using Commerce One's MarketSite platform. MarketSite is the cornerstone of Commerce One's Global Trading Web concept, which goes beyond extranets established by individual corporations to provide an open trading system among businesses with little or no pre-established affiliation.

One of Concert's partners, British Telecom, already operates a MarketSite portal, and the Concert agreement is expected to expand that trading network further. "Think of us as plugging in to something that's already there," Concert Chief Executive Officer Dave Dorman says.

Dorman made clear that one of the reasons for Concert's interest in the Commerce One platforms is to generate additional revenue-generating traffic on Concert's network. For its part, Commerce One -- like several other applications providers that have recently signed up with Concert -- is attracted by the AT&T-British Telecom affiliation.

"What they like most about us is our channel reach -- our ability to get to hundreds of millions of consumers and tens of millions of business customers," Dorman says.

Since the beginning of the year, Concert has also signed marketing deals with Web call center integration vendor eFusion, workflow software vendor Staffware and Asian network services provider Maxis. "We intend to do a lot more of these agreements," Dorman says.

In a briefing for reporters, Dorman emphasized that AT&T and British Telecom now have contributed all of their international network assets to the Concert venture, as well as full control over some 270 key enterprise network accounts.

Previous global ventures among large carriers from different countries have foundered because the partnering carriers have jealously maintained account control or foreign network assets for themselves, Dorman said.

Dorman was then asked how Concert planned to square its recent announcements with a raft of ASP (application service provider) partnerships from its owners -- including a January AT&T announcement of an ASP "ecosystem" of no fewer than 17 vendors. He replied that each of the owners' software and hardware vendor partnerships could act as a proving ground that could be contributed to the joint venture if they work well.

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