Netscape software gains momentum with new deals

Netscape Communications Corp. has secured large orders of its new Communicator browser and SuiteSpot server products in recent months from a bevy of civilian and Defense agencies including the Defense Department's largest agency.

More than 17 civilian agencies and three Defense agencies are among 100 large customers that since October have purchased the new products to deploy to more than 500 users each Netscape announced last week. Among those agencies is the Defense Logistics Agency which is using Netscape client and server software to deploy applications agencywide on intranet and extranets.

DLA signed an enterprise license agreement for Netscape's client and server technology as part of a larger effort to "develop some commonality across the agency" on its desktops by signing corporate licenses said Mike Burke deputy chief information officer at DLA.

Many DLA offices already have developed their own home pages and are looking to develop applications Burke said. "Getting a common suite of software out to them and developing a common set of skills across the agency will be an advantage to us " he said.

The Defense Information Systems Agency has licensed the client and server software that will be deployed to 95 000 users and the Defense Technical Information Center has licensed the server software to run all DOD's Web sites that are exposed to the outside world.

Civilian agencies that have licensed the software include NASA the Energy and Treasury departments the Federal Communications Commission the U.S. Senate the U.S. House of Representatives the Environmental Protection Agency the International Monetary Fund the Peace Corps and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Revamped Technology

Netscape announced its revamped browser and client/server products last year as part of its strategy to capture part of the blooming intranet market. Communicator has integrated features of its popular Navigator 4.0 browser with electronic mail groupware Hypertext Markup Language authoring and calendaring tools.

Netscape's SuiteSpot 3.0 includes six servers handling network-based applications messaging cataloging public-key certification directories and audio/visual streaming among other things.

John Menkhart Netscape regional manager said agencies are attracted to the products because the open standards allow them to integrate the new products into existing platforms with minimal investment. The products also allow agencies flexibility for future architecture design he said.

Bob Lewin director and principal analyst for collaborative computing worldwide with San Jose Calif.-based Dataquest Inc. said Netscape has positioned itself well to dominate the collaborative computing arena. While the IBM Corp./Lotus Development Corp. combination will dominate this market for the near term he said the second-place spot will be up for grabs in the next 18 to 24 months according to Dataquest.

"Netscape has done a great job in building up mind share with their approach " Lewin said. "If it does everything it claims to do they have an excellent opportunity to definitely make an impact in terms of market share."DLA is licensing Netscape Communicator client software and the SuiteSpot server family. The agency plans to develop applications to share information internally and to share information - and eventually conduct transactions - with its DOD customers.

The agency sees Internet-based technology as a way to allow people on heterogeneous platforms to share information Burke said. Compared with other groupware products "the browser technology is really far more flexible and allows us to operate between the vast variety of platforms we have " he said. "As we distribute the software [widely] as we put the SuiteSpot software out there we will see an increase in the types of information people are able to share."


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