Briefs

E-Comm Slowdown

The online e-commerce universe is likely to stop expanding within four years, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. The report, published last week, predicts the e-commerce market will undergo vast consolidation, especially among consumer-oriented sites.

The report predicts the requirement for 100% uptime will be too expensive for most companies, leading to a rash of mergers. Moreover, it says the number of online buyers and e-commerce sites will both level off. Forrester also predicts that the amount existing buyers spend will increase.

Business-to-business e-commerce is poised to expand, however, because e-commerce business-to-business organizations rely less on expensive marketing gimmicks to attract customers, said Forrester analyst Joe Sawyer.

Europe to Legislate Internet Economy

European industrialists and politicians have announced an initiative to adapt the European economy to cope with the Internet revolution. A group called the European Internet Foundation, which represents 53 members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum, will press for legislative changes to adapt the multinational European economy to e-commerce.

The group has the financial backing of at least 10 large European companies, including France's Alcatel SA, British Telecommunications PLC, Siemens AG and Telefýnica SA. The foundation will identify emerging policy priorities and help frame policy options through dialogue and debate, but it won't take positions on specific issues, a public statement said.

The European Internet Foundation can be found on the Web at www.eifonline.org/.

Deutsche Bank Teams With SAP

Deutsche Bank AG and SAP AG have announced they will jointly provide financial and trading services based on SAP's Internet-based mySAP.com e-commerce technology.

Deutsche Bank will develop applications to provide services such as transaction payment between business partners (clean payments) and escrow services for payments via a trustee account. The applications developed by Deutsche Bank will be made available during this year on electronic marketplaces powered by mySAP.com.

Telecom Web Service

A survey of 51 communications carriers shows that more than 75% expect to offer online capabilities for ordering, trouble reporting, account inquiry and billing by the end of this year. The survey, conducted by CompTel, a trade association in Washington, and American Management Systems Inc., an information technology consultancy in Fairfax, Va., also shows that 75% of the companies are using extranets to build relationships with partners and suppliers.

Health Exchange Deal Announced

Medibuy.com, a San Diego-based digital exchange in the health care market, and Bellevue, Wash.-based online retailer Drugstore.com Inc. have announced a plan to develop a cobranded online marketplace geared toward the home health care market. Under a five-year deal announced last week, Medibuy.com will design a suite of electronic procurement applications specifically for home health care providers, and Drugstore.com will fulfill all orders.

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