'The Alliance' Discharged by Health Care B2B - TheStreet

The alliance among

Ariba

(ARBA)

,

i2 Technologies

(ITWO)

and

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

suffered its second

setback in the past two weeks.

The trio, which calls itself

The Alliance, lost out on providing the underlying technology for the

Global Health Care Exchange

. That exchange was announced last March by

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

,

GE Medical Systems

,

Baxter International

(BAX) - Get Report

,

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

and

Medtronic

(MDT) - Get Report

. It was formed for the $100 billion health care industry to buy and sell products online. And Ariba and its pals were tapped to provide the underlying technology, making the exchange their first joint customer.

The loss of the exchange as a customer comes a week after Ariba and i2 landed

Transora

, an Internet exchange in the food industry. But they did so without IBM, raising questions about The Alliance's strength.

Instead of Ariba, i2 and IBM, the health care exchange will use the technology of

CentriMed

, a company that focuses on exchange software for the health care industry. On Thursday, B2B incubator company

Internet Capital Group

(ICGE)

brokered a deal to sell its stake in CentriMed to Global Health Care Exchange for a little over $30 million if certain conditions are met.

Thanks to that deal, the exchange decided to go with CentriMed's technology, said Jayson Page, a spokesman for the health care exchange.

Colleen Haikes, a spokeswoman for Ariba, i2 and IBM, disputes the notion that the development means the alliance is showing signs of weakness. Instead, she said, there still are opportunities for it to work in the health care exchange.

"The Global Health Care Exchange made a business decision to buy an existing marketplace with content and community. They're trying to establish the exchange with a homegrown solution," said Haikes. "Nevertheless, The Alliance is in discussion with the Global Health Care Exchange for opportunities to add value to the existing marketplace."

But losing an already announced customer hardly seems like a sign of strength.