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Wed 29 Nov 2000 04:00 AM

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IT heavy hitters to collaborate on e-business software

Some of the heavyweights of the IT world have formed a non-profit e-business think tank to ensure better back-end software interoperability.

Some of the heavyweights of the IT world, including Microsoft, Intel, IBM and SAP, have decided to form a non-profit e-business think tank to help ensure that their back-end software communicates better for customers. The Business Internet Consortium already has a steering committee and will form working groups over the next month to address specific issues.

“Our customers have technology from all of the different vendors that are participating,” said Marie Wieck, vice president of software strategy at IBM. “To fulfil their promise, all the software needs to work well together.”

The consortium is the latest attempt to standardise e-business transactions. Last month, 37 technology companies announced they had signed on to the RosettaNet XML (Extensible Markup Language) e-business standard. The World Wide Web Consortium, (W3C) is leading other standardisation efforts.

Organisers say that the new group, however, will go beyond such standards bodies, mainly because it is targeted directly at the needs of the customers who use the companies’ specific technology. Instead of proposing standards that may compete with those of other groups, the new consortium will offer solutions to common problems and encourage competing companies to work together.

However, not all the big players are on board yet: the consortium is just as notable for the companies that are sitting on the sidelines. Despite being invited to participate, Sun Microsystems and Oracle, among others, remain absent.

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