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Digital Signature Trust Wins First GSA Award<@VM>Merisel Offers Free Freight<@VM>Microsoft, CGI Form North American Alliance<@VM>Racer, Tech Data Sign Distributor Pact

By Nick Wakeman

Digital Signature Trust Co. of Salt Lake City is the first winner of the General Services Administration's Access Certificates for Electronic Services contract.

Other winners are expected in the next few weeks. The six-year contract is worth $100 million.

The contract will provide agencies a vehicle from which they can buy products and services for identification, authentication and non-repudiation using digital signature technology.

"The ACES award represents a critical step in the government's ability to provide secure electronic services to citizens," said Marty Wagner, GSA's associate administrator for governmentwide policy. "It is also a significant step forward for e-commerce and, potentially, a major advance in streamlining the government's administrative operations."
To promote its electronic commerce service, Merisel Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., is offering free ground freight on all orders placed through its SELline II electronic business and information service.

"SELline gives our resellers cutting-edge functionality and the most convenient, cost-effective means of placing and tracking orders," said Jim Illson, Merisel president and chief operating officer.

The company launched SELline in April and has seen its usage grow. "We're witnessing the shift to e-business," Illson said.

In addition to free ground freight for Canadian and U.S. resellers, Merisel also is offering new features such as faster order-status search, clearer status displays and the ability to search by manufacturer name and part number.

CGI Group Inc. of Montreal has formed an alliance with Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash., that will allow CGI to go after more projects in telecommunications, government and financial services markets across the United States and Canada.

Under the three-year agreement, CGI will deliver solutions based on the Microsoft enterprise platform.

Based on the market potential of this agreement, CGI is targeting revenue growth of $500 million over the life of the agreement.

"CGI is pleased to have signed this agreement with Microsoft, a world-class provider of software solutions," said Jean Brassard, president and COO of CGI.

"After investing heavily in year 2000 compliance, companies across North America are preparing to launch new IT solutions that use emerging technologies including e-commerce and Web-based applications," he said.

CGI had about $500 million in 1998 revenue and provides systems integration, consulting and outsourcing services.

Racer Computer Corp. of Phoenix and Tech Data Corp. of Clearwater, Fla., have signed a pact under which Tech Data will distribute Racer desktops, laptops and peripherals.

Racer officials hope to take advantage of Tech Data's global distribution reach so the company can grow geographically and boost name recognition.

"Racer's broad line of products, reliability and attractive price point offer our resellers a terrific opportunity to confidently expand their reach in the marketplace," said Brooke Powers, vice president and general manager of systems product marketing for Tech Data.

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