Microsoft Rolls Out New Commerce Server
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the release of its latest e-commerce server, which integrates with SharePoint services. The new Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 product makes it easier for developers to create shopping Web sites with an enhanced user experience, according to Microsoft's marketing materials.
The new server "powers cross-channel solutions for B2C, B2B and B2X scenarios," according to Jean-Yves Martineau, CTO and founder of Cactus Commerce, in a prepared statement. Microsoft developed Commerce Server 2009 in conjunction Cactus, a provider of end-to-end e-commerce solutions based in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.
Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 represents another way for Microsoft to leverage its cloud and software-as-a-service initiatives, according to Directions on Microsoft analyst Rob Helm.
"Commerce Server is a tiny product by Microsoft standards," Helm said by e-mail. "However, this release could put Commerce Server before a new audience of millions of SharePoint customers."
The new release expands on the earlier Commerce Server 2007 SP2 product by adding more than 30 Web parts and controls. Users can set up a generic shopping site out of the box. Various customer interactions are enhanced when using the server with Microsoft's Multi-Channel Commerce Foundation and SharePoint Commerce Services, according to Microsoft.
Multi-Channel Commerce Foundation provides components for multiple-channel commerce sites, including a single portal that can support a conventional e-commerce site, a retail point-of-sale application and a commerce site for mobile devices. The solution was previously code-named "Mojave Accelerator." It should not be confused with "Mojave," which was a Microsoft-conducted marketing test to gauge Vista's popularity.
SharePoint Commerce Services can be used with Commerce Server 2009 to support user interactions via SharePoint Server or ASP.NET-enabled Web sites. It also supports integration with Microsoft Windows Live Services, including Live ID authentication, contacts and Microsoft Virtual Earth mapping.
Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 is currently available as a download for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) members, and it will be available to the general public on April 1, according to a released statement. More information is available at Microsoft's site here or at Microsoft's e-commerce blog.
Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.