Vignette Follows IBM Deal with Sun Pact

Marking its second major e-commerce deal in just under a week, e-business applications provider Vignette Corp. (Nasdaq: VIGN) announced an alliance with Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) Thursday to jointly sell, market and engineer e-commerce hardware and software products.

Vignette had already announced a pact with IBM to jointly market and sell its recently introduced V/5 e-business applications with IBM’s WebSphere server software. In an interview with the E-Commerce Times, Vignette vice president of sales and services Mike Volman hinted that Vignette is in negotiations with several other major players.

Volman said that “every few weeks” in the immediate future, “you should expect to see us put our stake in the ground in terms of other companies which will expand our focus and add to our revenue.”

Close Partners

Vignette’s deal with Sun builds upon the two companies’ long-standing partnership in the delivery of Sun platforms and servers, and will target the rapidly expanding new media and telecommunications sectors.

“For the past five years, Sun and Vignette have worked closely to provide e-business solutions for more than 400 joint customers such as US West, Time, Inc., New Media, and Sprint,” said Vignette president and CEO Greg Peters.

Sun and Vignette will use open extensible platforms and standards, allowing users to leverage Sun’s Java technology to integrate their existing applications with other third-party applications, through Vignette’s V/5 software.

A Natural Step

“We continue to see many of our customers solve complex e-business challenges and significantly improve e-business’ time to deployment using Vignette’s technology,” said Pat Sueltz, executive vice president of Sun’s Software Systems Group. “Developing this agreement with Vignette was a natural next step.”

Sun and Vignette said they intend to globally expand their technical support, training and sales efforts, jointly targeting specific market segments.

The Vignette applications will be installed in Sun’s customer training, education and technical support facilities, known as iForce Ready Centers, to help customers who need assistance building their online businesses.

“The centers can assist Sun customers with everything from brainstorming the technological options for creating a wireless infrastructure, to quick proof-of-concept implementation, to actual pilot programs,” Sun said.

Moving Forward

IBM has forecasted that its deal with Vignette, which also recently announced plans to expand into Latin America, will increase its revenue by $1 billion (US$).

Volman said that Vignette expects to “take it to the next level, and align ourselves with strategic partners in other industries, with focuses in telecommunications, manufacturing and retail.”

Sun is a provider of hardware, software and services for establishing enterprise-side intranets and maximizing the power of the Internet. The Palo Alto, California-based company generates more than $15.7 billion in annual revenue.

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