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Microsoft Talks Up Commerce Server Beta

Microsoft has had a beta of its Commerce Server 2006 available since last December but formally announced it in late February.

As reported, one goal of the successor to the current Commerce Server 2002 release is tighter integration with BizTalk Server and the rest of the Microsoft server roster. That means there will be no more need for Microsoft Solution for Internet Business (MSIB).

One solution provider said the biggest advantage of the new version is that it's now much easier to link Microsoft's offering into the non-Microsoft technologies that typically power ERP and supply chain management applications.

"All the core functions of Commerce Server now have comprehensive Web services wrappers. If you want to use it as a serious e-commerce platform for larger enterprises, the things you need to manage will be in the ERP or master data management system and that requires retraining people to do management in another system," said Jean-Yves Martineau, co-founder and CEO of Cactus Commerce, an e-commerce specialist in Ottawa.

Martineau also said the updated catalog building tools and controls are much more flexible and refined than in the past.

The final product, pricing for which is not yet available, is due in July.

As Microsoft has said, there also will be better compatibility with other of its own servers because they share ASP.Net 2.0 foundations.

Microsoft Commerce Server competes with offerings from such pure-play commerce players as BroadVision, ATG, Blue Martini, as well as components of IBM WebSphere's lineup.

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