In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
VeriSign Inc.'s business-to-business connectivity software will be integrated in Ariba Inc.'s and American Express Co.'s software, tentatively called Pay-on-Ship, which AmEx corporate cardholders are testing. AmEx and Ariba--a B2B procurement software developer--announced in March that they will develop and market new B2B electronic payment services. Pay-on-Ship integrates the payment function with the purchasing-order function so that the entire B2B transaction is conducted over the Internet. When using Ariba's Commerce Services Network software, AmEx cardholders' purchasing card numbers are embedded in their purchasing orders. When the supplier receives the purchasing order, it sends that order to AmEx via the Internet to receive payment instead of over the telephone offline, says an AmEx spokesperson. In addition, the system allows any discrepancies between the purchasing order and the shipping order to be reconciled over the Internet before payment goes through to the supplier. VeriSign acts as the "virtual POS terminal," says AmEx. Its software allows the purchasing orders and shipping orders to be switched to the correct parties over the Internet, eliminating the need to send paper invoices, says the spokesperson. AmEx hopes this product will make its purchasing card the preferred payment vehicle for low-ticket B2B transactions, the spokesperson says.