Definition

e-business (electronic business)

E-business (electronic business), derived from such terms as "e-mail" and "e-commerce," is the conduct of business on the Internet, not only buying and selling but also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners. One of the first to use the term was IBM, when, in October, 1997, it launched a thematic campaign built around the term. Today, major corporations are rethinking their businesses in terms of the Internet and its new culture and capabilities. Companies are using the Web to buy parts and supplies from other companies, to collaborate on sales promotions, and to do joint research. Exploiting the convenience, availability, and world-wide reach of the Internet, many companies, such as Amazon.com, the book sellers, have already discovered how to use the Internet successfully.

Increasingly, much direct selling (or e-tailing) is taking place on the Internet of computer-related equipment and software. One of the first to report sales in the millions of dollars directly from the Web was Dell Computer. Travel bookings directly or indirectly as a result of Web research are becoming significant. Custom-orderable golf clubs and similar specialties are considered good prospects for the immediate future.

With the security built into today's browsers and with digital certificates now available for individuals and companies from Verisign, a certificate issuer, much of the early concern about the security of business transaction on the Web has abated and e-business by whatever name is accelerating.

IBM considers the development of intranets and extranets to be part of e-business. e-business can be said to include e-service, the provision of services and tasks over the Internet by application service providers (ASP).

Contributor(s): Tim D. Nelson
This was last updated in April 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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