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IBM, Ariba Get Social in the Cloud

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IBM and e-commerce software developer Ariba this week announced a new partnership that will integrate Ariba's Commerce Cloud Web platform with Big Blue's collaboration suite to improve communication between online buyers and sellers.

The pact comes just days after IBM acquired Sterling Commerce for $1.4 billion to bolster its software integration, transaction and cloud-computing application portfolio.

Now through IBM's (NYSE: IBM) deal with Ariba, buyers and sellers looking to simplify business-to-business transactions can use IBM's LotusLive collaboration and social networking tools with Ariba's (NASDAQ: ARBA) Web-based Commerce Cloud, for sales lead generation, finance, spend management and pricing information.

"Finding the right trading partners is hard. Collaborating with them to do business better is even harder," Ariba CTO Bhaskar Himatsingka said in a statement. "Our integration plans with IBM LotusLive are designed to help make it easier for buyers and sellers to collaborate in new ways by taking advantage of IBM’s powerful set of web-based tools for real-time collaboration within Ariba’s sourcing and sales process solutions."

The Ariba union is just the latest in string of partnership deals IBM has inked for its LotusLive suite.

In April, IBM said it had recruited more than 200 companies to sell its cloud-based e-mail, Web conferencing and collaboration apps and will offer a bundled services from the likes of Skype, UPS and Salesforce.

Ariba will integrate IBM's LotusLive with Ariba Discovery, a Web-based, e-Harmony-like service that helps buyers and sellers find each other quickly, share proposals and network with others in their industry.

"Like people searching for someone special, businesses are looking for a high degree of compatibility with their prospective partners," said Sean Poulley, vice president of IBM's cloud collaboration group.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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