Sold! eBay Turns to IBM for Web Services

IBM Corp. and eBay Inc. announced that the companies will create a strategic software, sales and marketing alliance. There are three components to the alliance: eBay will use IBM's WebSphere software to support is trading platform; IBM will have a greater presence on the eBay site; and the two companies will work on joint-marketing campaigns on- and offline.

The companies hope the agreement will allow eBay to "increase transactions and link operations with other enterprises, integrating disparate computing systems and business applications becomes critical," according to Samuel J. Palmisano, president and chief operating officer of IBM. "At the same time, eBay is a powerful vehicle for IBM to reach new buyers."

eBay is currently upgrading its technology infrastructure to accommodate growth plans. The company's goals include: increasing developer productivity and API integration; enhancing eBay's ability to easily add new features and user tools; allowing for greater flexibility in adding new businesses; improving site dependability; and, improving the overall user experience. eBay selected WebSphere because of its open standards as well as its reputation as a reliable platform for managing high-volume transactions.

As part of the alliance, eBay will become a key auction site for IBM products. IBM will expand its sales of PCs, servers and software on the site. Finally, eBay and IBM will explore joint offline marketing opportunities across television, print and direct marketing channels.

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