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Commerce One remake set to begin

Commerce One, looking to emerge from a huge sales slump, next week will begin shipping a framework and toolset for creating and extending processes, as well as for building components that can extend and integrate existing packaged and proprietary applications.

An early leader in the high-flying B2B business, Commerce One has struggled mightily over the past two years as sales dived and its workforce was cut from about 4,500 workers to just over 300. Commerce One has reported revenue of $105.5 million, which is just about a quarter of its year-earlier sales of $408.7 million. Losses for 2002 totaled about $589 million. "We made some ruthless and gut-wrenching decisions to focus on a new strategy," said Senior VP Narry Singh.

"Eighteen months ago we decided to make a course correction," Singh told eADT. "We decided, as a company, to create a platform that leverages our market strengths" The new Connector platform, which the company says can connect, compose and create business processes between applications and systems, incorporates a service-oriented architecture, supports open standards like XML, Web services and HTML, and has a development environment for building custom components, Singh said.

Singh said the firm looks to its installed B2B base of about 600 customers as potential customers. In addition, the firm will target select vertical markets like discrete manufacturers, consumer products firms, retail operations and the financial services and insurance industries. The price tag for the Conductor platform hasn't been set, but Singh said he expects a typical installation to bring in between $300,000 and $500,000.

Tony Baer, president of New York consulting firm onStrategies, said Commerce One faces significant potential competition but that its current cash position gives the firm time to take an early lead in the market. "They've pared off enough [costs] to keep it going for six quarters," Baer said. "They have as much chance to be successful as anyone."

The biggest potential roadblock, added Baer, could come from IBM and Microsoft, "which could buy their way into this business."

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.

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