Canadian ISV lands MS Commerce Server role

A Canadian software company has reached a unique deal with Microsoft in which it has essentially become part of the product development team for the next version of Commerce Server.

Ottawa-based Cactus Commerce said the deal would include developing relationships with other Microsoft partners around Commerce Server as well as marketing, services and support. Commerce Server, which was released last summer, is Microsoft’s development environment for creating applications that allow companies to buy and sell products online.

Microsoft announced on Wednesday the next version, code-named Commerce Server 7, will be available in 2010. In the meantime the company will release “accelerator” updates that will make the existing product interoperable with other Microsoft software.

Cactus Commerce founder and CTO Jean-Yves Martineau said the company had its own e-commerce product line but was doing more and more work with Commerce Server clients. Its technology will now be folded into the next version of Commerce Server, he said.

“We were really an add-on before. In combining those things, Cactus worked as a sub-contractor for various Microsoft teams,” he said, including the team responsible for BizTalk Server.

“Commerce Server was definitely close to our heart, though. We basically became one of the central partners Microsoft would dispatch for any Commerce Server opportunity. It came to a point where our batting average was very good.”

Martineau would not disclose the revenue model for the deal, but said the only thing close in comparison was Microsoft’s stake in the television network MSNBC. “It’s a very unique deal. The actual agreement is worth tens of millions of dollars. This is not a one year thing, it’s not a couple year thing. It’s long-term.”

Ryan Donovan, product unit manager for Microsoft Commerce Server, said Commerce Server 2007 accelerators will begin shipping in the second half of next year. These will include technology to allow greater interoperability between Commerce Server and its SharePoint portal product, Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM and Windows Live Services.

Donovan said Commerce Server already integrated well with competitive products from Oracle and SAP through BizTalk Server.

“We actually were offering a stronger interoperability with partner products than with our own,” he said. “This will close that gap.”

Microsoft is trying to lure more customers to Commerce Servers by developing features that will facilitate one-to-one customer care between buyers and sellers, Donovan said. Future versions will also incorporate the use of social networking tools.

“On the back end, it’s about being able to have targeted personalization that can work across all of that,” he said.

Martineau said Cactus Commerce will be creating technology that allows users to offer similar marketing content across various media. Those developing e-commerce front-end interfaces for a PC might use JPEG images, for example, but on a cell phone it makes more sense to use lighter Scaleable Vector Graphics.

“It’s going to separate what you are trying to show from its physical representation,” he said.

Cactus Commerce will continue to focus on areas outside of its Microsoft partnership, Martineau said, in particular helping retailers get their data in order as they move towards e-commerce.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Shane Schick
Shane Schick
Your guide to the ongoing story of how technology is changing the world

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now