Recently Launched B-to-B Exchanges

FRAMINGHAM (04/20/2000) - Food Distributors International (FDI) in Falls Church, Virginia, and the Food Marketing Institute in Washington, whose members conduct $800 million in annual business, announced last week that they are teaming up to build a business-to-business Internet exchange. The buying exchange will let members pool their purchasing power to get lower prices on nonconsumer goods such as office supplies, said an FDI spokesman, who added that there will be an "auction component" to that service.

The Web services are being developed by a number of companies, with IBM as the lead contractor. The site will be available in late summer to food wholesalers, retailers and distributors across North America.

-- Volkswagen AG earlier this month said it's joining IBM Corp., i2Technologies Inc. in Dallas and Ariba Inc. in Mountain View, California, to create a global business-to-business digital marketplace to order parts, tools and office equipment online. Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen said it wouldn't take part in the Internet automotive trade exchange being set up by Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG.

Laurie Orlov, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said she thinks Volkswagen's decision not to participate in the Big Three auto exchange is related to the fact that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has started to investigate automakers - and their collaboration on online marketplaces - for antitrust collusion.

-- Members of Star Alliance, an international airline network, unveiled plans to lead the launch later this year of a buyer-driven, business-to-business e-commerce exchange for the global airline industry.

The exchange aims to allow participating airlines to buy supplies over the Web.

The site will be managed and operated independently of any individual airline, said Ingvar Soderlund, director of corporate purchasing at Stockholm-based Star Alliance member Scandinavian Airlines System.

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