RealTime IT News

Firms Create E-Commerce Trading Network

E-commerce solution company Concur Technologies Wednesday spearheaded a deal with Nortel Networks, SAFECO and Microsoft Corp. to create a e-commerce trading network for the enterprise market.

Under the deal, Nortel Networks (NT) and insurance provider SAFECO (SAFC) will make a $35 million equity investment in Concur.

The Concur (CNQR) Business Advantage connects users over the Internet directly to market-leading suppliers, representing goods and services with discounts of up to 65 percent. These savings are attainable through pre-negotiated discounts on items such as computer hardware, software, office supplies and travel.

Microsoft (MSFT) will devote marketing and research and development resources for the Concur network, which is built on the Microsoft Windows 2000 platform. Nortel Networks will provide its expertise as a solutions integrator, bringing together a complete managed service solution that allows its service provider customers to offer a pre-integrated package to SMBs.

SAFECO will chip in as the exclusive supplier of insurance and business equipment lending offered through Concur Business Advantage. Additionally, Randy Talbot, president of SAFECO Life & Investments, will join Concur's board of directors.

"The decision to align with Concur and Nortel Networks to offer Concur Business Advantage and develop our distribution network underscores our continued expansion and leadership in eCommerce strategies," said Talbot.

The alliance is one in a series of steps being taken by major companies to get a considerable hold on the B2B market. On Tuesday, SBC Communications Inc. (SBC) bought Sterling Commerce (SE) for $3.8 billion.

SBC inked the deal to create "e-marketplace communities," similar to the one Concur set up Wednesday, where buyers and sellers can conduct real-time transactions.