Through partnerships, revamped products, and its own Web site, Netscape will shortly lay out its plan to offer corporations the capability to outsource the nuts and bolts of Internet- commerce activities, including online transactions, procurement, ordering, security, and inventory.
Netscape will look to integrate its diverse Inter- net strategies by betting on a business-to-business I-commerce strategy that positions its Web site as an Internet tollbooth for each transaction to pass through on its way to accessing services deployed on top of enterprise software from Netscape.
At a full-day strategy briefing in the US, Netscape executives will describe how new directory, messaging, browsers, and application servers will leverage the CommerceXpert family of applications to offer such services.
Specifically, through its "enterprise service provider" plan, Netscape will provide corporations with the following services: products being offered on the Internet via Netscape-hosted sites; products being invisibly added from third parties to bolster a portfolio of online services, and outsourcing of departments, such as billing, that are not core to a business focus.
"Netscape wants to be a nexus for corporate procurement," said Vernon Keenan, a senior analyst at Zona Research. "If it is successful, it will get the tip of its cup into the e-commerce waterfall. It has the technology. But whether it can do it remains to be seen."
Netscape's latest incarnation received positive reviews. "I was shocked to find myself impressed," said Tim Sloane, an analyst at US-based Aberdeen Group, who was briefed on Netscape's plans. "The vision is powerful and repositions the company."
Netscape will support its vision with an upgraded CommerceXpert line and several product releases, including Navigator and Communicator 4.5, with features to leverage I-commerce activity on the Netcaster Web site.