IBM Signs Marketing Pacts with Baan and Lawson

A deal on B2B standards, E*Trade puts its stock in bonds, and more. StaffFebruary 26, 2001

IBM Ramps up its ERP Strategy

IBM has been busily shoring up its dealings with publishers of enterprise resource planning systems. First, the company announced an agreement to market Baan’s iBaan Internet-enabled system. It also struck a deal with Lawson Software to sell E-commerce systems to health insurers.

In the case of Baan, IBM Global Services will implement iBaan for customers developing E-business systems in their customer-service and supply-chain operations. The iBaan applications will run on IBM’s eServer line of hardware and use the MQ Series messaging middleware for sending and receiving real-time data on networks.

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IBM will also market Lawson’s lawson.insight e-Business Management System to health insurers. Lawson.insight also runs on eServers and uses the DB2 database. The system also uses IBM’s WebSphere to design Web pages for E-commerce applications.

Lawson.insight includes development tools for customizing financial, human resources, procurement, supply chain, and analytics applications.

IBM and Microsoft, Friends and Foes

While Big Blue was signing marketing deals with Baan and Lawson, it was also signing a peace treaty of sorts with Microsoft regarding the two companies’ rival standards for B2B E-commerce applications. According to Reuters, IBM, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems, and other members of their Oasis alliance agreed to use Microsoft’s SOAP, or simple object access protocol, for sharing data among parties in a B2B transaction.

IBM and Microsoft had begun work on their rival standards in 1999. Both relied on XML (Extensible Markup Language), a language used for designing B2B Web sites.

Meanwhile, ZD Net reported that IBM is going after Microsoft’s installed base with the Outlook E-mail program, and trying to convert them to the Domino server sold by IBM’s Lotus Development subsidiary. IBM will announce on Monday Lotus Domino iNotes Access for Microsoft Outlook, which lets companies consolidate Microsoft Exchange servers on one IBM eServer iSeries system.

ZDNet said IBM is looking to tap an estimated 50 million Outlook users worldwide.

Serving up Servers

Last but not least, IBM is planning to demonstrate on Monday a line of high-power, but low-cost, servers based on Intel processors, reported Cnet News. Code-named Summit, the servers will partition tasks among groups of processors, with each server capable of running up to 16 Intel Pentium 4s. Partitioning allows some processors to, for example, run a Windows database while others perform tasks on Linux.

Geac’s Got a Product

For the first time in weeks, there’s news coming out of Geac Computer Corp. that doesn’t have to do with its dire financial straits. The company’s Geac Enterprise Solutions division released SmartStream 6.5, which includes a back office integration feature called FRx.

SmartStream has been upgraded for the Sybase 12.0 and Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 databases. It’s also compatible with the Windows 2000 operating system.

Geac’s SmartStream is a Web-enabled client/server enterprise resource planning system that provides financial, procurement, and human resources functions for financial services, healthcare, public sector, higher education, and insurance organizations.

E*Traders Prefer Bonds

Reuters reported that online discount broker E*Trade Group expects to begin underwriting municipal and corporate bonds by the end of the year, following in the steps of Charles Schwab & Co.

Both companies are attempting to capitalize on the shifting investor sentiment in favor of bonds as the economy continues to weaken and the bear market drags down stock prices. E*Trade began selling bonds on its Web site two years ago, but this is its first foray into underwriting.

The company has already discussed its program with corporate issuers eager to broaden their investor base in the retail market.

No Napping Allowed

Now that the federal courts have shut down Napster, the music industry is looking to shut down copycat Web sites. According to Cnet News, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has sent out 75 letters of legal complaint to some 50 U.S. Internet service providers asking them to block access to a shadow Napster system, known as OpenNap, allegedly being run from their networks.

Many ISPs have already agreed to shut down OpenNap on their networks.

Under 1999’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act, copyright holders can require ISPs to remove content that allegedly infringes upon the holder’s copyrights. But beyond that, the law is intentionally vague on the protection of intellectual content on the Web. Several members of Congress have proposed legislation to amend the law to address this issue.

The law is only applicable in the United States, but American music publishers are preparing to contact foreign ISPs to get them to remove Napster clones from their services.