December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

With so many commerce server software options, retailers must weigh choices carefully

(Page 3 of 3)

The race is on

Pang at IDC agrees: “It’s too early in the game to say who’s got a really sustaining strategy out there to claim the No. 1 spot.” Still, Pang looks for InterWorld, Broad Vision and Intershop to be among players chalking up the fastest growth.

Heightened competition makes this arena ripe for a shakeout. Analysts look for lots of acquisitions and consolidations, particularly at the entry level. “There are too many people to fit in the boat-some have to sink,” observes Truog at Forrester.

Truog wagers that platform-and-toolkit players have the best chance at flourishing because they create an “ecosystem of other vendors around them.” He also favors younger players such as Blue Martini because they enter the market embracing new technologies like Java and XML instead of playing catch-up. Some older companies might be “saddled with historical baggage,” Truog points out.

Baltaxe believes winners will be those developers that offer retailers “the most flexible and complete set of services.” The ultimate victory, however, belongs to the channel. Says Baltaxe: “Pretty soon we won’t even refer to it as Internet commerce. Online business will just be business as usual.”

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