Axime SA and Microsoft Corp have signed an agreement at the end of December in which Axime will use Microsoft’s Merchant Server and its Internet Security Framework as the software for its electronic commerce service. Axime was already using Microsoft’s Exchange Server for its messaging and Internet Explorer for its high-speed, cable-based Internet experiments. Microsoft France president Jean-Philippe Courtois said the collaboration with a proven leader in secure payment systems will allow us to adapt our offer to the rules of French usage. In other news, Axime’s inter-bank payment system Cristal, which was developed jointly with French software house Steria, has been retained by Lloyds Bank and the Parisian Credit Bank, BPC, bringing the total to over 10 establishments. They include Societe Generale, the Bank of France, the French Bank for External Commerce, Indosuez, Banque Worms, Compagnie Bancaire, Paribas and Compagnie Parisienne de Reescompte. Cristal, which is implemented and operated by Axime and Steria, allows banks to communicate with France’s Center for Interbank Payments.