Microsoft Corp. released Monday a test version of its next release of e-commerce software, which it plans to deliver in July.

Microsoft Commerce Server 2006 is now available in beta form. Customers can sign up for the beta at this Web site.

Integration with back-end systems will be a major theme for the next release of Commerce Server, the first upgrade to the product since 2002, according to Microsoft.

The update will include adapters from Microsoft’s integration software, BizTalk Server, so customers can link e-commerce systems with back-end financial applications such as SAP or JD Edwards, the company said. The software also will include other BizTalk adapters for integration with order, inventory and catalog systems.

Commerce Server 2006 will enable customers to manage and share business data through support for SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), a standard for building Web services. Web services technology in the product also will allow customers to exchange and aggregate product catalog information across business partners, Microsoft said.

Additionally, Commerce Server 2006 will enable customers to provide end users and business partners with access to order status and inventory information, as well as the ability to build product wish lists. Changes to orders also can be made through this new feature, according to Microsoft.

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