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Ariba seals deals with Dell and Amex

Partnering roles for American Express and Dell

Ariba fired another shot in the e-commerce customer wars on Monday when it unveiled deals with Dell Computer and American Express.

At its user conference, the provider of trading exchange technology trotted out executives from the two companies, both of which will also play partnering roles with Ariba. American Express will develop new electronic payment services with Ariba, and will integrate its B2B Commerce Network of payment systems with Ariba's business-to-business platform. The companies will also cross-sell to each other's customers. American Express (Amex) will use Ariba's platform worldwide.

For Amex, which currently supports partner and customer relationships with 10 e-commerce providers, the decision to deepen its Ariba affiliation was based largely on Ariba's strong penetration of Amex's client base, said Mac Schuessler, vice president of ePayment services at American Express. "One of the biggest drivers for us is client demand," he said. "Clients make their own procurement decisions and then let us know what the decision is."

Dell has taken its relationship with Ariba a step further, too, by announcing an equity investment in the company, the terms of which were not disclosed. Dell also plans to use Ariba's technology to form a B2B online marketplace and to bundle the Ariba application with its PowerEdge servers. The B2B marketplace is expected to be available by the third quarter. PowerEdge servers with the Ariba B2B procurement solution will be available in the second quarter, officials said.

In addition, Dell will use Ariba's platform throughout its customer base. It will also be the leading hardware supplier to Ariba, officials said.

Last week, Ariba unveiled a partnership with IBM that is aimed at creating prefabricated exchange platforms for vertical industries.

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