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More Alliances: webMethods Expands Partnership With EDS

Deals in B2B sector become more common as the task of making it all work gets more daunting.

The strategic alliances just keep coming in B2B.

webMethods

(WEBM)

and

EDS

(EDS)

are the latest companies to team up in a bid to win more of the B2B market. On Thursday, webMethods, which makes software that lets different computer systems communicate with each other, announced an expanded partnership with EDS. Under the terms of the agreement, EDS consultants will use webMethods software to plug suppliers into

Ariba's

(ARBA)

B2B network.

That's significant, because to date most B2B software has been tailored to organizations looking to buy things on the Internet; it hasn't been tailored to the sellers or suppliers. As part of the pact, EDS will also resell webMethods' own software to its other customers.

The deal will result in at least "tens of millions" in revenue for the company, said Phillip Merrick, CEO of Fairfax, Va.-based webMethods.

"The major financial part of the relationship is between webMethods and EDS," Merrick said. The two companies have worked together in the past to integrate systems at companies such as

Dell

,

Grainger

and

Best Buy

.

The deal comes on the heels of other significant partnerships within the B2B world. They include an alliance between Ariba,

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i2 Technologies

(ITWO)

and

IBM

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, as well as a close partnership between

Commerce One

(CMRC)

and German software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

. And on Wednesday,

PurchasePro.com

(PPRO)

announced an alliance with

Computer Associates

(CA) - Get Report

that will involve a joint development and sales force agreement.

Merrick said these types of partnerships are becoming more common because the task of making B2B work is so daunting.

"Everybody's recognizing that no one vendor has the complete solution," Merrick said. "You get your applications from Ariba or Commerce One, your integration software from webMethods, and your services from somewhere else."

Which means that unlike the "end-to-end solutions" that B2B companies like to crow about, business e-commerce is becoming much more of a patchwork system.