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First There Was SAP... Commerce One Links Up With Another German Firm

Intershop deal shows software firm's aggressiveness in partnering with firms to give its products an edge.

Commerce One's


stock soared Thursday after it announced that it's partnering with yet another German software firm.

It was up $7.81, or 12%, to $70.50.

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Commerce One is linking up with


, a German firm that specializes in sell-side products for the e-commerce market. (


wrote a

story about the deal earlier Thursday.) Until now, Commerce One has mostly catered to the buyers in the e-commerce equation, big corporations that want to purchase goods and materials over the Internet.

Now, using Intershop's


software, suppliers will be able to plug into the other end of Commerce One's software, which will be tailored to sell products. Beyond being just a marketing and sales agreement, the deal between Commerce One and Intershop includes some technical integration of the firms' products.

But doesn't Commerce One already have a German software partner? Well, you're right. Since June, Commerce One has been walking merrily hand-in-hand with


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, the big German enterprise-software maker. Together they've already landed six customers.

But the new Intershop partnership shows just how aggressive Commerce One is in partnering with other firms to add all the necessary functions to its products. For instance, it plans on using the Intershop software in its


application, which allows companies to participate in online exchanges, or Internet sites where companies can go to buy goods and materials. MarketSite, in turn, is Commerce One's half of the joint software it's creating with SAP, called



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Now, the new Intershop sell-side technology will plug into all of that.

Jeff Smith, Commerce One's vice president of business development, said Commerce One and Intershop already have at least one customer,

Shell Chemical


Analysts initially had little to say about the importance of the Commerce One-Intershop partnership. So it remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of another e-commerce troika, like the one that's been

formed by




i2 Technologies




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But it does, at least, underscore what's fast becoming a truth in B2B -- that it's impossible to compete on your own.

"To me, what's most important about the relationships being struck of late is that it's confirmation that all e-commerce systems must interoperate," said Bob Austrian, B2B analyst at

Banc of America Securities

. "There is no room for islands within them. The question merely becomes which strategic partners and companies you want to most closely associate with."

Of course, making everything work with everything else isn't exactly easy. Ariba, for example, has been

encountering problems trying to integrate its


technology, which it gained through an acquisition, into its own software. This means that while investors are cheering Commerce One for its partnerships now, there's always the possibility that they'll be crying over them later.