IBM Corp may have the traditional banking industry in its pocket but Hewlett-Packard Co is determined to give Big Blue a run for its money in the emerging internet commerce market, yesterday creating a consortium called First Global Commerce in conjunction with Electronic Data Systems Inc to peddle HP’s VeriFone electronic payment solutions to financial institutions and retailers. The two say they will develop end-to-end electronic payment, internet commerce and smart card solutions aimed at small banks and merchants and have already attracted Citibank, Mondex, electronic credit card and merchant payment processor First USA Paymentech, Royal Bank of Canada, Sistema 4B, Sumitomo Credit, Visa and Wells Fargo to First Global Commerce – a name supposed lend the initiative some kind of credence in the banking world. EDS already resells VeriFone’s IPS Internet Payment System software, vGATE internet gateway and HP hardware as part of its ReadySet internet credit card processing solution. EDS says the initiative won’t be limited to HP and VeriFone technologies, and although a set of third party hardware, software and integration partners will be announced at the beginning of March, all will have to be plug-and-play compatible with IPS. They’re hoping VeriFone’s credentials will attract representation from the merchant and retail community which First Global Commerce currently lacks and hope to have a list of partners ready sometime after March. The firms have committed five employees each to the venture and an undisclosed marketing budget. VeriFone – the $500m operation for which HP paid $1.29bn – is the cornerstone of the company’s electronic commerce strategy (CI No 3,257). International Data Corp says internet commerce alone will be worth more than $220bn by 2001, more than 20 its value this year. Responding to the announcement, IBM says it has already established some 45 internet and electronic ventures, including Integrion, to HP’s half dozen: indeed First Global members Citibank and Royal Bank of Canada are also investors in Integrion. IBM believes any initiative promoting electronic commerce can only be good for all participants but says HP and EDS certainly aren’t the first as their venture seems to suggests. IBM and HP have previously committed to developing interoperable electronic commerce technologies using the SET Secure Electronic Technology security standard developed by Visa and Mastercard.