BTOB EXCLUSIVE: Procurement vendors retrench

Acquisition nixed

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Primarily because of its hammered stock price, Ariba this month saw a planned purchase of Agile Software Corp. unravel. Ariba also said it would cut one third of its 2,100-person work force.

The Agile deal would have been significant because it promised to bring Ariba content management and collaboration software for manufacturers. Without the $2.55 billion Agile acquisition, analysts have questioned whether Ariba's purchasing services are broad enough to provide long-term benefit. In other words, it won't be as valuable as Commerce One's SAP services or Oracle's comprehensive suite.

But at Ariba's Live 2001 event in Las Vegas, which begins April 30, the company will woo corporate buyers by highlighting its massive footprint among suppliers. Today, more than 30,000 suppliers have linked into Ariba's buying system.

"You can't do business-to-business without supplier participation, and the key for us is that we've been free to suppliers and easy to adopt," said Michael Schmitt, senior VP-chief marketing officer of Ariba.

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