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Sat 5 Aug 2000 04:00 AM

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The future of e-commerce

With the launch of two local ASPs and vendors talk about new ebusiness technologies, Colin Browne, editor, Computer Reseller News looks at the new opportunities for Middle East resellers.

By Colin Browne, editor, Computer Reseller News Middle East I have just watched two local ASP launches, one on the Oracle platform, one on Microsoft's, vendors talk about new e-business technologies, and WAP announcement after WAP announcement after WAP announcement. I am beginning to suspect that there is a trend emerging here. If you take a look around Dubai, especially, there is a fundamental shift underway in the way people perceive things. Yes, living here is nice enough because of the tax breaks and the proximity to the beach, but it wasn’t all that long ago that I would have labelled the Middle East as somewhat dull. Though I may be in trouble for saying that, I make the point because to think that today would surely indicate a lack of imagination. The exciting changes are in the development plans, and the shape and size of the new buildings and in the mindsets of some people who are really going out on a limb here. This place is on fire. But without being too over-enthusiastic, the point that I want to make is that you as IT providers almost unanimously talk about these new opportunities as if the only model to put in place is one in which you yourselves become an ASP, an ISP, a “B2C e-commerce online mall,” as it was put to me recently, or—dare I say it—a ‘portal’. Whatever your definition of that is. Or at least when you talk to me, these are the things you say. Overcome Paranoia But within the first uncertain steps that the ASP and WAP pioneers in the region are beginning to take, lie some really great opportunities if you care to get over the paranoia that you weren't there first. Put simply, the emergence of ASP and WAP infrastructures should be seen as new opportunities for you to develop innovative new services for which you can charge as yet utterly undetermined rates. You may argue of course that the kinds of consumer services that WAP makes possible are best left to those already in that game; financial information is best left to banks, perhaps. But I wouldn’t argue that point too vigorously if I were you. Where there is a service there is always a need to improve it. Where there is a new medium through which to deliver it, there is always the opportunity to make radical changes. And you, after all, are the ones that are living, eating, and sleeping with the technology that is behind all this. I wonder what you will do with it?Let me know what you think. You can email me at colin.browne@itpmedia.com .

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