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Term meaning ‘business-to-business’. Not exactly a concept, but an

important element of the current architecture of interactive

communication, especially in multimedia applications. ‘Horizontal’

b2b commerce has proven more important than ‘vertical’ b2c

(business-to-consumer) interactions thus far in the new interactive

economy. In fact b2b is now an identifiable business sector in its own

right, sustaining a vibrant culture of Internet sites and portals

devoted to assisting, exploiting and expanding this sector (see, for

example, or

Among the reasons why b2b matured more rapidly than the

potentially much larger-scale b2c are:

. businesses invested in interactive technologies to a much higher degree than individuals, resulting in a widespread availability of fast,

networked systems in many businesses large and small;

. the ‘new economy’ applications of IT spawned many microbusinesses and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) able to

compete with established dinosaur corporations online – the base of

business itself broadened (at least temporarily);

. digital and broadband infrastructure was slow to roll out in most countries, making household connection to the Internet both slow

and expensive;

. retail consumers proved reluctant to divulge their personal and credit details online, and may also have had qualms about the extent

to which their actions could be tracked and exploited.