Federal antitrust regulators
have approved the big auto industry online parts exchange. Now, maybe the companies involved can agree on the technology behind it.
There's still no final agreement covering the underlying technology of
, the online exchange where car manufacturers will buy supplies and materials over the Internet, according to Mark Hoffman,
Commerce One has been closely identified with Covisint, but in fact it's still working with rival
on the technology. That arrangement has led onlookers to wonder whether one company would eventually push the other aside. Now, a few weeks before Covisint's launch, that's still a possibility, if only a small one.
"There's always that chance, because the contract is not finalized, but I would not think that would be the case," Hoffman said in an interview Monday with
. "The exchange is going to get powered by Commerce One and Oracle."
announced in February that they would build a joint marketplace on the Internet, speculation has raged over whose technology they would use.
Ford had already begun working with Oracle, while GM had hooked up with Commerce One. And the two software providers were hardly friendly, raising questions about whether they could work together. Hoffman said they have.
"As it turned out, we stuck our engineers together in a room for a couple of days and they actually worked out the solution," he said.
After all, Hoffman added, Covisint's success is in the best interest of both. "We've got a customer there that's going to demand of us that we cooperate and build a successful solution," he said. "And in fact, because we'll get revenue sharing and because we have equity in this exchange, it's also highly motivational to us to see that they're successful."
Hoffman said he believes the group will get Covisint up and running "very quickly." Analysts have said Covisint could go live as soon as Sept. 30. But while the U.S. government has signed off on it, the German government also has a say because of DaimlerChrysler's involvement. Covisint officials Monday said the exchange won't be up and running until 30 days after that approval.
Hoffman said he had been more concerned about gaining approval from the
Federal Trade Commission
than putting together the exchange's technology. He noted that approval also could open the door for other online exchanges.
"It's pretty important, because it was the first one that applied to the FTC, but you know, it's also taken the arrows along the way," he said. "It's laying the groundwork for other exchanges that are going to get done as well."