From: Rohit Khare (Rohit@KnowNow.com)
Date: Tue Sep 05 2000 - 09:40:33 PDT
["... plan to hand it over to an internet standards body..." like
some radioactive hot potato. Don't see that happening. --RK]
Plan Aims to Foster Electronic Commerce Between Businesses
More Direct Computer-to-Computer Deals Expected
By JOHN MARKOFF
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 4 -- Seeking to promote the rapid development of
electronic commerce between businesses, I.B.M., Microsoft and Ariba
plan to announce a proposal on Wednesday to create a huge set of
online registries of products and services to help automate business
Twenty-nine companies, including American Express, CommerceOne,
Compaq, Merrill Lynch and Sun Microsystems, will initially endorse
the proposal, to be named the Universal Description, Discovery and
Integration project, or UDDI. The backers said they planned to turn
the idea over eventually to one of several Internet standards bodies
to make it a broadly backed initiative.
"We are intent on making the Web an easier way to handle
business-to-business transactions," said Marie Weik, I.B.M.'s
director of electronic markets infrastructure.
The initiative comes at a time when companies have begun to grapple
with the intricacies of electronic commerce, hoping to achieve the
original promise of a new Internet publishing standard known as
Extensible Markup Language, or XML.
Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, led to the current World Wide Web
as a vast publishing medium. Many hope XML will permit direct
computer-to-computer transactions in the next generation of the Web.
Until recently, the UDDI project was a closely held secret among the
three companies. While I.B.M. and Microsoft are dominant players in
Internet commerce, Ariba is a smaller electronic commerce company,
based in Mountain View, Calif.
Although the initiative is being portrayed as an effort to create an
"open" standard, the UDDI project offers some insight into the
bruising behind-the-scenes competition taking place in the world of
Internet standards as companies seek proprietary advantage for new
Several executives at competing electronic commerce companies said
the UDDI standard initiative parallels but ignores an earlier effort
led by Commercenet, a competing Silicon Valley electronic commerce
Known as the eCo Framework Project, that system also focused on
creating public electronic registries and automated electronic
commerce.. But the Commercenet effort has lost momentum, and
Microsoft has moved quickly to take over the effort to set standards
for electronic commerce.
Making analogies to telephone directory yellow and white pages,
executives said their proposed UDDI standard would permit companies
to publish descriptive information about their organization and their
products in a way that could easily be located by electronic commerce
software programs used in business transactions.
The group said the proposed standard would go a step beyond being a
static "telephone directory" style look-up service. An additional
component of the registry was described as a "green pages," which
would allow companies to publish information about their business
This is intended to make it possible for electronic commerce programs
based on the XML standard to locate business partners automatically
and buy and sell products and services.
"Perhaps a better analogy would be to the signaling system used by
the telephone network to automatically set up telephone calls," said
James Utzschneider, Microsoft's director of Web services for the
company's business applications division.
The three companies plan to create a prototype within a month.
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