AT&T, HP forge e-commerce alliance

AT&T Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. announced today they have entered into an agreement to integrate products and services that result in turnkey electronic-commerce packages.

For its part, AT&T will provide networking and secure purchasing capabilities via its SecureBuy transaction-processing service. HP will contribute its Unix and NT servers that will be deployed at merchant sites, said officials from both companies.

The announcement broadens AT&T's SecureBuy service by unbundling it from AT&T's Easy World Wide Web Hosting service. Until now, customers were required to use AT&T's host service to gain access to SecureBuy, which offers support for online credit card purchases and processing through back-office applications, according to an AT&T spokesman in Basking Ridge, N.J.

In September, when the integrated HP/AT&T electronic-storefront systems are expected to be available from HP resellers, customers will be able to deploy and manage an HP Web server at their own site and outsource SecureBuy to AT&T, said officials.

The hardware/software/service package includes iChat Corp.'s Electronic Commerce Suite for creating and managing Web catalogs and Open Market Inc.'s SecureLink commerce-enabling software, which integrates with AT&T's SecureBuy service.

Merchants will be able to purchase the electronic-storefront systems from resellers for a $1,000 setup fee plus the price of the HP hardware, which ranges between $2,000 and $8,000.

The SecureBuy service costs $595 per month for existing AT&T business customers. Non-AT&T customers will pay $695 per month. In addition, customers will receive 500 free transactions per month for one year. Additional transactions will cost $3 each, said AT&T officials.