Tech Titans’ Yellow Pages Up and Running

An online business directory designed to make business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce simpler and more efficient went live Wednesday.

In addition to providing basic company information, the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) allows businesses to list their products and services, as well as important technical information about the formats, standards and technologies used in conducting online business.

UDDI is backed by a consortium of high tech heavyweights, including Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Ariba (Nasdaq: ARBA) and IBM (NYSE: IBM),

“UDDI is an important component in helping e-businesses fully exploit the advantages of Web services,” said Chris Kurt, general program manager for UDDI.org.

The number of UDDI participants has grown from 36, when the project was initially announced in September, to over 260.

Global Directory

Registering for and searching UDDI is free. Once registered, would-be business partners are able to locate each other using the directory’s search engine, based on parameters such as geographic location, business category, service details and technical product specifications.

“For the past several months, early adopters in the UDDI beta test have been able to experiment with this online directory for registering business services, identifying new partners and learning which technical specifications are needed to communicate with a partner’s system,” Kurt said.

The creators of UDDI also tout its ability to level the playing field, allowing smaller companies to compete with larger, more established businesses.

“The need for universal interoperability for B2B transactions is driving the adoption of UDDI,” Kurt said. “Companies of all sizes can register themselves on UDDI to gain exposure to other e-businesses looking for specific B2B relationships.”

HP To Host

UDDI’s founders also announced that Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HWP), which joined the consortium in October, had signed an agreement to host a public UDDI registry.

IBM and Microsoft already operate public UDDI registries, while the HP-operated directory is set to go live by the end of the year. The companies plan to have multiple registries to help ensure that “global registry information is always available and accessible to all users everywhere.”

Open Source

The UDDI Project is a platform-neutral set of specifications built on core Internet standards, including TCP/IP, HTML and XML, language, object model and business application or marketplace.

UDDI’s organizers have also made the project’s technical specifications available online, so that programmers can create applications that make use of data in the UDDI registry.

The project is currently being managed by the consortium, but the companies eventually play to turn the operations over to a standards board.

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