IBM Sticks to Standards for Digital Wallet

IBM has joined its competitors in the e-commerce software market by releasing a standards-based digital wallet in the hope to reduce the phenomenon of potential Web site buyers walking away from transactions midstream.

The new 2.1 version of the Consumer Wallet is intended to “reduce the buyer
abandonment rate”, according to Brod Brennan, e-commerce segment manager at
IBM Australia.

The software has been certified by SETCo, IBM is not being religious about
integrating with the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) framework, as the
Wallet can recognise and support merchants which are using Secure Sockets
Layer (SSL) encryption for simpler transactions.

However, a proprietary feature in the Wallet 2.1 called ProBuyer can
automatically select the highest level of security offered by that merchant.

Brennan said products like the IBM Wallet would “remove debate and
technological impediments” to electronic commerce.

The new wallet supports the Electronic Commerce Markup Language (ECML)
specification for standard data entry fields on merchant Web sites, which
was announced in June by a consortium including IBM, America Online,
American Express, CyberCash, MasterCard, Microsoft, SETCo, Sun and Visa.

IBM has formed its own consortium behind the Wallet product, and will work
with MasterCard in particular to rebrand the IBM Wallet on behalf of banks
which are in the club, Brennan said.

The release of an open standards-based wallet product fleshes out IBM’s
e-commerce portfolio, said Brennan, which includes the Net.Commerce
merchant server and the recently released Commerce Integrator package.
Other vendors are also active in this space.

Microsoft’s wallet product is
now in its fourth version under the name of Passport, and Australian
e-commerce vendor Creative Digital Technology used the Sydney Internet
World 99 show in August to launch ActiveWallet, which will compete directly
with IBM’s product with similar features like ECML support and SET

The IBM Consumer Wallet requires 7MB of disk space, and only runs on
Windows 95 or NT with browser compatibility with Netscape Navigator 2.0 or
later and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 or later.

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