In a flurry of activity to promote its internet commerce efforts, Microsoft announced an agreement with Hewlett-Packard Co and HP’s new acquisition VeriFone Inc (CI No 3,147) to develop an e- commerce system, the Site Server Enterprise Edition and a new digital wallet software. The deal between Microsoft, HP and VeriFone would see the co-development of a single turnkey e- commerce system based on the Secure Electronics Transactions (SET) protocol. The system would allow for the setup of internet storefronts and the acceptence of payments grounded on the expertise of the three companies. Microsoft will supply web commerce and server software; HP, hardware; and VeriFone, internet payment technology and built-in relationships with banks and other financial institutions. It will be interesting to see whether, when all’s said and done, another payment specialist like CyberCash Inc might figure in the system based on the possible need for advanced technologies for micropayment and checking. The system will be sold mostly by HP’s sales team and seems designed to challenge IBM in the e-commerce arena. Included in the system will be the new Microsoft Wallet software, intended to make internet payment easier through the storage of data such as credit card numbers and other personal and billing information. It supports multiple protocols, including SET and Secure Sockets Layer. The software will be included in future versions of Windows and Internet Explorer but is also available from Microsoft’s website. The Site Server, running on Windows NT, is a set of applications for the BackOffice line designed to allow organizations to deploy and manage websites. The Enterprise Edition contains commerce- enabling features that assist in the creation of online stores and catalogs, facilitate transactions, enhance business-to- business capabilities, and track usage data. Redmond intends the Site Server Enterprise Edition as the successor to its Merchant Server. It will be available for pre-release in May with wide release scheduled for this summer, and will cost $5000. The Site Server 2.0, without the commerce and transaction capabilities, will cost $1500.