Cisco Systems Inc., a leading supplier of hardware for the Internet, will help build the online purchasing joint venture created by Ford Motor Co. and Oracle Corp. in November.
The venture, called auto-xchange, allows online bidding for Ford parts.
Cisco has taken an undisclosed equity stake in auto-xchange. Ford did not take a stake in Cisco.
Cisco will sell quick-start kits to the 30,000 Ford suppliers that do not already have the hardware needed to gain immediate and secure access to auto-xchange. Cisco also will offer the kits to Ford dealers.
Meanwhile, auto-xchange last week conducted its first online auction, for $78 million worth of parts. The first auction worked well, said Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO.
'We believe we're the leading supplier of software for the Internet,' Ellison said. 'Cisco is the leading supplier of hardware for the Internet. We think it's a very natural alliance between Oracle and Cisco as technology providers to let companies like Ford become complete e-businesses.'
Suppliers that bid during auto-xchange auctions have the option of using either the public Internet or the Automotive Network eXchange, or ANX, a secure global network developed for the automakers and their suppliers. But suppliers who want to use ANX must subscribe to the network.
ANX was created by the Automotive Industry Action Group, a coalition of suppliers and automakers.