Taking Their Time
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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA -- European B2B is not living up to its erstwhile promise and will only get going by 2003, noted research company Gartner.
A year ago European e-marketplaces looked as if they were well on their way to competing with more traditional forms of doing business but they haven't lived up to once-rosy forecasts. "Expectations were set too high and there was a lot of hype - large companies jumped on the bandwagon and made announcements that didn't materialize when they realized it couldn't be done in a day," stated Petra Gartzen, a Gartner analyst.
Gartner initially predicted that 2000 would signal European B2B's coming of age but the $72 billion spent by Euro companies on online B2B transactions last year amounted to less than 1 percent of the total value of such transactions on the continent.
Shares of e-commerce software makers have sagged dramatically in recent months and the expected growth didn't materialize. Infobank International, a UK-based B2B software provider, lost 98 percent of its share value during 2000 whilst other investor-picked collaborative software purveyors like Exact Holding lost more than two-thirds of their value during last year's e-slump. Just2Clicks.com, whose sites facilitate e-commerce for power utilities and other industries, recently announced that it was considering dropping out of the game altogether.
The real impact will only be felt from 2003 onwards when larger companies have finally gotten their slow and wary e-projects off the ground, predicts Gartner, adding a cautionary note for pure-plays. "Pure dot-coms will find it very hard in this business," concluded Gartzen.