Firms Create E-Commerce Trading Network

E-commerce solution company Concur
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.

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

“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

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