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Ariba and Commerce One in a B2B Smackdown

B2B heavyweights hold simultaneous conferences and engage in WWF-style trash-talking.

It's not quite like spending a night with the


, but there's some serious trash-talking going on between




Commerce One



What could you expect, really? The two leading B2B software makers, which are usually busy saying nasty things about each other anyway, just happen to both be holding major conferences this week.

That's an unhappy coincidence, both say. But it's one that has left many analysts and journalists wondering just how to be in two places -- Las Vegas for Commerce One and Miami for Ariba -- at once. It's already resulted in some verbal and written barbs as each tries to grab attention away from the other.

Take a pitch sent out to reporters and editors Monday morning on behalf of Ariba and its partners


(IBM) - Get Report


i2 Technologies


. It went out shortly after Commerce One announced its own news of a new customer it landed with partner


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(SAP) - Get Report


The Ariba release was written in a tone that would make

Darth Vader

proud, calling Ariba, IBM and i2 "The Alliance."

"The Alliance has Ariba, global leader in B2B commerce, eProcurement, dynamic trade and on-line commerce services. SAP/Commerce One has Commerce One, a worthy competitor, but one that lacks the critical e-procurement solution," the trio stated.

Then, the Alliance picked on the different nationalities of SAP and Commerce One. After saying that SAP and Commerce One will have to "piece together one unified code base from across continents," the group said, "Never mind that there are cultural issues of two very different companies coming together, one of which does not have a strong tradition of partnering with other software companies. Looking at SAP's track record in this space, it is not surprising that they are struggling to keep up."

When asked about the Alliance's release, a Commerce One spokeswoman said the company didn't have a point-by-point response. But in an interview Monday about a

new customer captured with SAP, Commerce One CEO Mark Hoffman compared his company's latest victory with one by the Alliance.

In fact, the Commerce One/SAP powered


online exchange for the high-tech industry will compete with


, a similar exchange being powered by Ariba, IBM and i2.

"We have the best direct goods strategy, and I think you'll find that with our competitor's exchange, there will be some assembly required," Hoffman said.

Hoffman went on to raise questions about


, the food exchange that the Alliance is said to have landed. (An exchange is a place on the Internet where companies can buy and sell goods.)

"Things may not be going as smoothly as everyone thinks," Hoffman said. He didn't offer anything specific, but said that he was simply passing along what he heard in the market.

Now, if only he could have said it while wearing a pink boa and jumping from the top ropes, that would've been entertainment. But hey, this is still B2B.