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AOL Lures Small Businesses

March 29, 2001|Reuters

America Online Inc. has set up 10 business-to-business exchanges and is committing millions of dollars in a bid to get more firms to do business online. AOL, the Internet service business of AOL Time Warner Inc., said the a joint effort with software partner PurchasePro Inc. is part of its initiative to bring small businesses together to buy and sell goods on the Internet. AOL is putting 200 of its sales staff into the effort. AOL and PurchasePro said 10 companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Homestore.com and Spherion Corp., had licensed PurchasePro's online exchange software to set up private marketplaces that would link to AOL's own exchange, Netbusiness Marketplace. Shares of AOL-Time Warner fell $2.24 to close at $40.76 on the NYSE, while PurchasePro closed off 50 cents at $6.75 on Nasdaq.

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