This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Old-Fashioned B-to-B
Sep 05 2000 12:00 AM PDT

Are you burned out on stories about Napster and the promise of peer-to-peer e-commerce? Try curling up with a story about an old-fashioned b-to-b initiative. IBM, Microsoft (MSFT) and Ariba (ARBA) apparently called all the big outlets to take the wraps off their UDDI protocol - that's Universal Description, Discovery and Integration, for long. Details will emerge tomorrow, but reporters from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and San Jose Mercury News had plenty of material for this morning's editions.

The three companies will unveil a distributed directory that lists companies that are ready to do business online. The three-level directory will offer listings equivalent to white pages (contact information), yellow pages (offerings and markets), and green pages (online capabilities and business practices). The latter should allow companies to connect and transact business machine-to-machine, without human involvement.

Some outlets listed a few of the 30 or so companies that have signed on, but not everybody got the word. The AP's reporter wrote, "For such a project to succeed ... it would need the backing of either Sun Microsystems (SUNW) or Oracle (ORCL), preferably both." According to both the Times and the Journal, Sun is already on board.

The outlets uncovered different angles on UDDI's status as a wanna-be open standard. The AP noted Microsoft's past tendency to use "proprietary technology to render (standards) useless to everyone except those using Microsoft products," but added that the company seems to be moving toward standard-friendliness with its dot-Net initiative. Many outlets reported that the three founders of the initiative plan to turn UDDI over to an independent standards body within 12 to 18 months. The New York Times explored the unacknowledged debt UDDI owes to an earlier, stalled initiative by Commercenet. - Keith Dawson

Plan Aims to Foster Electronic Commerce Between Businesses
New York Times
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New Web-Publishing Standard Aims to Simplify E-Commerce
Wall Street Journal
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Microsoft, IBM, Ariba to Create B-to-B Directory
San Jose Mercury News

Microsoft, IBM, Ariba Team to Develop Online Business Language
Nando Times