Whatever happened to yesterday's hot technologies?

Ten new economy darlings that never quite lived up to their hype

All told, there are very few real BRMS success stories when compared with the many attempts that never made it past Phase Two. Is this truly the best AI had to offer?

-- James Owen

B-to-B e-commerce

As the Web economy began to cool in 2000, any savvy entrepreneur who was still in the dot-com game latched onto b-to-b as the hand to play. The hot buzzword of the next-generation online business model was “disintermediation” -- nothing less than cutting out the middleman (and not much more). As it turned out, however, using the Web to wed partners and wheedle deals behind the scenes wasn’t a recipe for runaway success, any more than the consumer-facing e-commerce model that came before it.

For one thing, the integration technologies necessary for it to work -- such as Web services -- simply weren’t in place in 2000. For another, there wasn’t much incentive for the supply side to participate -- why pay a b-to-b vendor to enter a bidding war in which you’d be forced to reduce your prices and compete for customers you thought you’d already won? Finally, b-to-b’s basic premise failed to recognize that, unlike the world of consumer sales, business relationships are predicated on a lot more than just cost and availability.

But it may be too soon to label b-to-b as down for the count. The growing market for SOA (service-oriented architecture) and modular applications may prove to be an ideal opportunity for the enterprising infrastructure players -- provided that, this time, they can check their ambitions with a little realism.

-- N.M.

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