MS and IBM create Enfrastructure startup

Microsoft, IBM and Arthur Andersen are teaming to create Enfrastructure, the latest company aimed at small business

Microsoft, IBM and Arthur Andersen are expected to unveil Tuesday a startup, called Enfrastructure, which will be aimed at encouraging new e-businesses.

Enfrastructure is not only the brainchild of this trio of tech companies, but is also one of the companies managed by former chief executive Scott Blum. is an e-business incubator based in California. is an affiliate of Softbank's HotBank Network. Last October, Softbank committed $200m to ThinkTank, which it could use for venture capital funding for its businesses. Softbank is a shareholder in ZDNet.

Other ThinkTank-backed companies include,,, and One trait that all of these ThinkTank companies currently share is a reliance on infrastructure of hardware, software, and services from IBM, Microsoft, and Arthur Andersen.

Kicking off the Enfrastructure launch will be Blum, who is currently chief executive of the year-old ThinkTank, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive, and Steve Samek, head of US operations for Arthur Andersen.

While Enfrastructure isn't expected to be an incubator, per se, it is expected to provide new e-businesses with some of the hardware, software and services they need to launch and operate their companies.

Microsoft already provides small businesses with a variety of software and services via its bCentral Web site. Microsoft committed earlier this summer to spending $150m in fiscal 2001 to beef up its bCentral site.

And both IBM and Microsoft have a host of already cemented partnerships in the e-business space with both traditional integrators, as well as with the growing number of Web integrators and business-to-business consultants.

A PR spokesperson coordinating Tuesday's event declined to comment on the particulars.

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