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July 18, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:29pm


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has its eye on the smart card market, and has signed a commercial agreement with French smart card company Gemplus SA, the industry leader. The two will embark on a joint marketing, sales and development effort that will bring Gemplus’ smart card technology together with IBM’s systems capabilities. The smart card market is expected to explode over the next few years with figures suggesting it will increase from its annual worth of $1bn to some $20bn by the end of 2000. Both IBM and Gemplus want to see the establishment of a global standard and have said they will be focusing on Java-based standards and specifications. Gemplus says the agreement, signed in Paris yesterday, will enable the development of more complex, multi-function cards, involving the use of the cards as computers in their own right, including fully networked capabilities and a range of applications on the card. The agreement is non-exclusive, but Sanjaya Addamki, an IBM executive familiar with the deal, said the companies have worked together over the past year or so and know they work well together and share the same ideas and beliefs. The deal, said Addamki, is critical for e-business which is what we are trying to build. IBM has been working in the smart card arena for the past four to five years and earlier in the year joined with Oracle Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc and Netscape Communications Corp said they would support a Java-based smart card standard (CI No 3,129, 3,134). Gemplus, which produced nearly 300 million smart cards last year, twice as many as its arch-rival Schlumberger Ltd, says the main users of the joint smart card technologies are likely to include the telecommunications industry, banks, hotels, airlines, insurance companies, health care providers and governments.

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