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IBM to Deliver Mobile E-Commerce Content

IBM Corp. Friday continued to assemble its wireless initiative by forming alliances with eight of the industry's top Internet service firms to build mobile e-commerce solutions.

As a result of the deal AGENCY.COM, answerthink Consulting Group Inc., Luminant Worldwide Corp., Organic Inc., R/GA Interactive, Rare Medium Group Inc. , Razorfish, Inc. , and US Interactive Inc. will put IBM's mobile e-commerce software to work delivering content and services through mobile phones and other portable Internet-enabled appliances.

IBM will invest in special support programs tailored to meet the needs of eight Internet service firms, which last year generated more than $1 billion in combined revenues for consulting, Web design and integration services.

In return, these content companies agreed to build a percentage of their wireless web solutions on IBM middleware, the software layer that provides communication between different operating systems and the applications businesses use to run their companies.

Mark Hanny, IBM's Web Integrator Initiative vice president, said in a few years more than 60 percent of all Web transactions will be triggered by wireless devices.

"Mobile e-commerce represents a tremendous opportunity for businesses to provide new personalized, location-based services over the Internet," Hanny said. "These companies will have tremendous influence over which platforms businesses use to create content and services for these devices, and we're committed to provide them with the support they need to develop and deploy wireless solutions using IBM hardware and software."

David Flaxman, answerthink managing director of e-commerce, said if a company is not already planning for wireless deployment they are behind the curve.

"The concept that you should not have to redeploy content for every existing and potential device is a compelling one. IBM's approach, through standardized transcoding, combined with IBM's end-to-end suite of e-commerce products provides a powerful enterprise-to-anywhere toolset," Flaxman said. "Answerthink is focused on technology leadership and the Pervasive Computing Partnership will be a core part of answerthink's Advanced Technology Practice."

Chetan Sharma, Luminant principal, said the scalability, integrated application services and comprehensive range of features available with IBM's Application Framework make it the natural choice as a development platform for our mobile e-commerce solutions.

"Luminant intends to be a leader in bringing the desktop to wireless devices and is making significant commitments to this new web frontier," Sharma said. "IBM is a natural partner for us in this arena. Together, we can bring advanced, flexible and cost effective solutions to a marketplace that will be hungry for them."

The eight Web agencies will participate in a variety of wireless training sessions and joint marketing business development programs with IBM. They will also be able to leverage IBM research and have access to IBM's customer-building sales channels.

Initially, the companies will use IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Suite as a foundation for the mobile solutions they develop for clients. IBM's flagship wireless server software delivers mobile Internet solutions to non-traditional computing devices, including wireless handsets.

The middleware features content delivery functions that auto