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B2B causes legal angst

The rise of B2B exchanges is proving to be quite a headache for the legal community, some of whom fear the new form of business exchange poses a challenge to conventional competition law.

According to Andrew Christopher, partner at Baker and McKenzie, these exchanges may be seen as a form of price fixing if two or more parties involved in a B2B exchange are considered to be competitors.

"B2B facilitates a new form of competitive collaboration that didn't previously exist," he said. "For example, under a B2B arrangement, there is the involvement of a market maker, facilitator or host who engages in the transaction at some level."

Christopher does not believe it is lawyers who will lose business as the result of automated electronic trading, but the more physical forms of intermediaries such as distributors and warehousers.

Streamers to unite

Five vendors have banded together to create a single standard for media streaming on the Internet, but interestingly two of the largest powers in streaming are not involved.

Attempting to create a single standard for media streaming over Internet Protocol (IP), Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Kasenna, Philips Electronics and Sun Microsystems have formed the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA).

According to the alliance, the cost of deploying streaming media services to support current disparate formats has prohibited many service providers and other adopters from taking full advantage of existing market opportunities.

Interestingly, Microsoft and RealNetworks, which currently could be said to hold two of the more popular streaming technologies currently available, have not yet indicated whether they wish to be involved in the alliance.corProcure gets top-heavycorProcure CEO Len Ward has announced the appointment of the group's senior management team. Tom Honen, formerly director of finance for Nike Asia Pacific, has been appointed as general manager of finance and administration. Nicola Milne, formerly executive vice president of McDonald's Australia, has been appointed as general manager of operations. Nikki Williams, previously CEO of the Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association has been appointed general manager of marketing and business development, while Harry Moyer, a senior executive IT manager with Schlumberger, will join corProcure in January 2001 as general manager of information technology.

Trading on the corProcure exchange, which will host 14 of Australia's largest companies, is expected to commence by early next year.

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