Seeking to find synergies by appealing to their existing audiences, the Tokyo subsidiary of WOMEN. COM NETWORKS, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 360, September 1999, p. 22) and AOL JAPAN INC. jointly will plan and develop a new Web site designed for the ISP's female users. The first codeveloped area, Life-Up Clinic, went on-line in mid-December 1999. It features a new version of women.com's popular "Ask The Experts!" Japanese advice chat group, where persons knowledgeable in a wide range of fields answer questions chosen at random. The partners plan to hold on-line talk shows, seminars and other events focused on women and women's issues.
In a similar vein but with a different focus, HEALTHEON/WEBMD, INC. and SOFTBANK PUBLISHING INC. announced plans to found a company to distribute medical information and services to physicians and consumers via the Internet. WEBMD JAPAN K.K., in which the Atlanta-based Internet health-care company will have a 40 percent stake, will localize Healtheon/WebMD's comprehensive medical Web content and supplement it with local medical news and information. The WebMD Japan site, targeted to be operational in the summer of 2000, will be free to consumers but marketed to medical professionals on a subscription basis.
To distinguish their planned Internet music Web site from the competition, Seattle's REALNETWORKS, INC. and SUMITOMO CORP. will focus on delivering a one-to-one on-line experience by filtering content according to the customer's tastes. The Web site will connect visitors not only to a large selection of music recordings but to related fan clubs, events and affinity products as well. Sumitomo will focus on delivering the new content via its broadband infrastructure, which includes affiliations with @HOME CORP., CROSSBEAM NETWORKS CORP. and LYCOS, INC.'s local portal. If the Japan- targeted content strikes a chord with users, the partners may explore adapting it to serve other Asian markets. RealNetworks will have a 51 percent interest in the proposed joint venture, which expects to open its music destination site in February 2000. Cybermall operator US-STYLE.COM INC. has opened an area on its existing virtual retail site aimed at Japanese consumers (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 357, June 1999, p. 22). Not only do they have access to a wide range of American products at U.S. prices with all content and support in Japanese, but users can e-mail questions to vendors in their native tongue, have their inquiries translated into English and receive a response in Japanese within 24 hours. With a prime cyber site on YAHOO! JAPAN CORP.'s market- leading portal, US-Style.com expects to hear the virtual cash register ring.
AUTOBYTEL.COM INC. is revving up its on-line car and truck sales site (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 26) with new financial backing from GE CAPITAL CORP. The world's largest nonbank financial institution bought a $3.1 million stake in Autobytel.com's subsidiary and, via its JAPAN LEASE AUTO CORP. unit (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 20), will be in charge of the site's vehicle leasing services. Relatively few automotive buyers in Japan lease their vehicles. With Japan Lease's help, Autobytel is out to change that.
Targeting soaring demand for world-class Web sites, New York City-based RENAISSANCE MULTIMEDIA has begun offering Internet development services in Japan and the rest of Asia. In cooperation with a group of Japanese investors, the "Silicon Alley" digital design and communications company set up an office to provide comprehensive consulting and Internet-based strategic planning. This advice merges sophisticated sites with localized strategies.
With Web-site performance and user-friendliness becoming increasingly important to companies' bottom lines, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is selling a localized version of its parent's Web-site evaluation and performance-tracking package. Designed to work with HP's OpenView enterprise computing management platform, VantagePoint Web Transaction Observer tests and grades Web sites from a user's perspective, developing reports and business intelligence from simulated and actual Web-site use. The package is priced from $51,300.
The migration of business activities to the Web now extends to the preparation and publishing of regulatory compliance information and approval applications, thanks to a new software package from ESPS, INC. The Fort Washington, Pennsylvania firm's CoreDossier allows users to efficiently plan, publish and share large volumes of information, such as that related to pharmaceutical testing and approval. COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s arm will serve as ESPS's systems integrator. It has begun selling the English version of CoreDossier to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; a Japanese version will follow shortly.
The market for business-to-business e-commerce software and services continues to attract aspirants. ECCELERATE.COM, a new, wholly owned unit of DUN & BRADSTREET CORP., has teamed with MITSUBISHI CORP. to bring its B2B products and services to Japan. eccelerate.com's Smart Transactions system embeds D&B D-U-N-S Numbers a unique number used to identify companies within its digital certificates. That not only ensures security but allows users to safely identify trading partners, tailor services to specific clients and manage transactions individually using rule-based algorithms. Mitsubishi will deploy eccelerate.com's customer identification and business credentials system throughout its global trading network as well as work with its American partner to localize the software and market it to other Japanese companies.
Focusing on providing the infrastructure that powers B2B e-commerce, iPlanet partners SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. and AMERICA ONLINE, INC.'s Netscape Communications unit are offering localized versions of their codeveloped ECXpert electronic data interchange server, which costs $48,500, and the $38,800 TradingXpert Internet trading community package. Part of iPlanet's E-Commerce Solutions suite of software and services, the two modules provide a highly scalable, robust and secure platform for B2B transactions.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. and its TIVOLI SYSTEMS INC. affiliate will provide the nuts and bolts as well as the brainpower behind NTT COMMUNICATIONS CORP.'s e-business outsourcing service. IBM will supply its server and e-business technologies, while Tivoli will contribute comprehensive enterprise management software. The wholly owned NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. unit signed a four-year contract with the two companies. It expects the new business, which has an April 2000 start date, to ring up sales of more than $1 billion. This deal complements NTT Communications' earlier arrangement with COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. on IT management systems (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 363, December 1999, p. 33).
Also throwing its hat into the e-commerce and intranet outsourcing ring, UNISYS CORP.'s unit has announced a comprehensive lineup of consulting, integration and support services. Marketed under the umbrella name of Internet Commerce Solutions, Unisys will divide its menu into B2B, business-to-consumer and intranet services. It plans to establish an iCommerce Business Center to develop customer solutions and provide support.
A six-way alliance is offering an e-commerce service based on the ASP (application service provider) model. The group pairs the subsidiaries of COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP., CYBERCASH, INC. and MICROSOFT CORP. with CSK ELECTRONICS CORP., FRONTLINE.JP INC. and SITE DESIGN CO., LTD. Their One Week Commerce package is claimed to be quicker, easier and cheaper than previous e- commerce alternatives because clients do not need new software or hardware. Customers simply access e-commerce servers and Web-site tools via the Internet to design, install and operate their on-line business presence. Besides serving as the ASP, CSK NETWORK SYSTEMS CORP. will provide customer support and market the service. Its goal is to sign 500 contracts worth $4.9 million the first year. After three years, CSK Network Systems believes that it can have 1,000 sites in operation and revenues of $29.1 million.
Several transpacific partnerships are competing in the red-hot market for outsourced B2B electronic collaboration. For example, BRICSNET N.V. and UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary will offer a Japanese-language version of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire firm's ProjectCenter extranet service for the building industry. Unisys representatives expect ProjectCenter to get a warm welcome, given its proven track record of helping contractors complete jobs faster, cheaper and more efficiently. Marketing will begin in April 2000. Unisys will charge roughly $100 a month for each PC linked to a specific ProjectCenter Web site. Bricsnet and Unisys likely will work next on localizing other components of Bricsnet.com, a vertical portal for the building industry.
At the same time, CUBUS CORP. and BEING CO., LTD. of Mie prefecture have rolled out the San Francisco firm's Web-based e-business collaboration solutions for the construction industry. Cubus' software unifies many time-consuming communications processes, including phone, facsimile and e-mail, into an Internet-based collaboration environment where project data and documents can be shared, codeveloped, marked up and annotated and projects can be tracked from start to finish. Being officials see immediate application for the Cubus package in handling CALS (continuous acquisition and life-cycle support) duties.
Another contender in this space is MATRIXONE, INC. with its eMatrix platform. The Chelmsford, Massachusetts firm's Web application server exchanges and integrates all types of information and processes, such as conceptual planning, product design, manufacturing, marketing and customer support. At the front end, it interfaces with existing and new applications that link the enterprise's employees, partners, suppliers and customers. At the back end, it works with enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, product data management, customer relations and other applications to create a seamless corporate IT environment. Initially, MatrixOne's subsidiary will promote eMatrix as a PDM solution.
CRITICAL PATH, INC. is partnering with MI-TSUI & CO., LTD. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. to establish a joint venture to promote its outsourced B2B Internet messaging solutions to customers in the Asian Pacific region. The unnamed company will focus on integrating services for wireless handheld devices with corporate e-mail infrastructures. Mitsui, which will have a 35 percent stake in the venture, will develop client contacts, while 25 percent owner NTT will provide technical support and manage the hardware and software. San Francisco-headquartered Critical Path, which already has a marketing pact with Mitsui (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 360, September 1999, p. 24), will own the remaining 40 percent. However, NEC CORP. is expected to join the venture, making it a potent challenger to market leader FUJI-TSU, LTD.
To further boost its secure Internet Protocol messaging system, TUMBLEWEED COMMUNICATIONS CORP.'s recently formed subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 363, December 1999, p. 29) added TOYO INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD., HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. and TOKYO MATSUSHITA COMPUTER CORP. to its list of marketing partners. Toyo Information Systems will offer the Redwood City, California firm's Integrated Messaging Exchange service on an outsourced basis as well as add the package to its menu of integration services. HP Japan and Tokyo Matsushita Computer will act as IME resellers, furthering Tumbleweed's goal of making its electronic document system a de facto standard in Japan.
ORACLE CORP.'s operation will move into the ASP market sometime in the first quarter of 2000, offering the use of its enterprise resource planning package, Oracle Applications, via the Internet. Oracle touts the lower cost of ownership of Oracle Applications delivered via its ASP service. This channel should put the complex software solution, which requires significant hardware resources to run, within the financial reach of smaller companies.
AVATERRA.COM, INC. has signed a cooperation agreement with NTT SOFTWARE CORP. to identify, design, develop and market advanced interpersonal communications software for the Internet. The Santa Clara, California-based business specializes in commercializing technologies that enable Web-based, one-to-one interaction and the creation of portable personal Internet identities. Avaterra.com will contribute ideas and leads on cutting-edge Internet technologies to NTT Software, which will be free to develop them for markets worldwide. In turn, NTT Software will provide development resources and marketing in Asia for Avaterra.com's existing virtual communities and future interactive Internet applications, targeting both business and consumer markets.
With the help of marketing partners MEDIA VISION INC. and SRINET, INC. (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 26), KISS SOFTWARE CORP. has launched sales of an Internet-connection optimization suite. Through a nontechnical, five-step question-and-response process, the Tustin, California company's Modem Wizard 4.5 lets users make the best use of whichever kind of Internet connection they have. It also helps network clients reestablish their connections in the event of a system crash. The suite includes as well two utilities: Speed Surfer Internet Toolbox, which boosts Web browser performance by tracking Internet-use patterns and caching favorite sites and pages, and ShortCuts 2.0, which lets users link favorite Web sites, documents or programs to the function keys on their keyboards. Kiss Software is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESYNCH CORP.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has tied up with NTT COMMUNICATIONWARE CORP. to develop and market high-performance software for information terminals based on Chai, HEWLETT-PACK-ARD CO.'s Java-workalike language. The companies are touting Chai's quick response times (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 29) in pitching the software for use in embedded and handheld devices.
IBM JAPAN LTD. has completed development and construction of a membership Internet system for RANDNETDD CO., LTD. and begun operating and maintaining the system for its client. RandnetDD, an equally owned venture between NINTENDO CO., LTD. and RECRUIT COSMOS CO., LTD., focuses on the community of Nintendo video game console users, offering them a virtual meeting place, on-line multiplayer games and new title information. IBM Japan is touting RandnetDD's system as a showcase for its e-busi-ness software tools, integration skills and outsourcing services. It points in particular to the site's content development, Web-based applications and comprehensive security system.
With computer graphics for video games becoming more sophisticated and realistic, SILICON GRAPHICS, INC.'s subsidiary recently spun off its entertainment division into a freestanding unit to better pursue this business. SGI originally set up the entertainment unit to develop animation and graphics for Hollywood motion pictures but closed it because of poor performance. Thanks to the insatiable demand of Japan's video gaming industry, the rechristened SILICON STUDIO LTD. not only was able to prosper but now plans to pursue new markets, such as digital content for the Web. Employees own more than 40 percent of the company; SGI's subsidiary has a 19 percent stake. Other investors include CSK CORP., a SONY COMPUTER, INC. affiliate and SUMISHO ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. Silicon Studio is projecting revenues of $29.1 million in 2000. SGI's computer- aided design and computer graphics divisions remain part of the former parent.
APPLE COMPUTER, INC.'s operation will begin offering support to its local developer and user communities via the Web. For $2,900 a year, subscribers to the service will get unlimited e-mail support for Apple's software products. Apple expects its first customers to be graphics and multimedia professionals who use its QuickTime audio/visual software and Final Cut Pro video editing package.
On-line shoppers and merchants worried about the security of Internet-based payments may be attracted to the localized version of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Passport service. Users provide Passport with their personal and credit-card information via a secure Web site and, in return, are issued a digital identification number. Then, when they are ready to pay on-line for goods, they simply enter their Passport ID and the service fills in name, address, shipping and payment data from its encrypted data base. Passport is free to both users and merchants, although the latter must agree to adopt a minimum set of privacy rules. Microsoft's subsidiary hopes that 1 million cybershoppers will join the first year as well as 50 on-line merchants.
The recent spate of hacker attacks on Japanese Web sites and malicious e-mail virus epidemics has created a ready audience for RSA SECURITY INC.'s new Internet security- oriented portal. The Net Security site, which is free of charge to users since it is supported by sponsors and advertising, presents in-depth information on all aspects of network, Internet and personal computer security. RSA Security's subsidiary provides the expert security content, with Tokyo's VAGABOND CO., LTD. handling content production and a third company, also Tokyo-based, operating the portal. Such companies as FORVAL CREATIVE, INC., ICSA, INC.'s subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 23) and TREND MICRO, INC. are promoting the portal. Net Security was scheduled to be fully operational in January 2000.
Also responding to the recent surge in malicious Internet incidents, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s marketing unit released an integrated package of network protection programs. NetTools Secure includes PGP data encryption, Gauntlet firewall and PKI (public key infrastructure) access-control modules. It also incorporates a full suite of antivirus programs, including VirusScan for desktop computers, Netshield for servers, Groupshield for networks and Webshield for Internet gateways. .....The subsidiary of rival SYMANTEC CORP. released an updated version of the competing Norton AntiVirus Enterprise Solution, better known as NAVEX, to counter the latest threats. Among other features, the program includes more business-oriented features. For instance, NAVEX sports easier enterprise-level control and administration modules as well as software that extends the antivirus shield to remote users. A license for 25 to 49 machines starts as low as $95.
Adding a physical layer of security to its digital certificate system, RSA SECURITY INC.'s unit is offering its SecurID Smartcard system. The card, which contains a processor and a nonvolatile memory chip, holds a user's personal data as well as digital certificate. When used with an appropriate card reader, it can encrypt and secure electronic documents and transmissions. RSA Security claims that its system is more secure than competing alternatives because the personal and certificate information do not reside on a vulnerable PC, as is usually the case. The cards cost $75 each and are impossible to reproduce, according to the Bedford, Massachusetts firm.
INTERNET DYNAMICS, INC. is offering businesses its intranet access-control software through distributor ASGENT, INC. InterConclave v2.1 resides on a single Windows NT server, which cuts deployment costs and time, yet it can handle access requests from thousands of clients. The Westlake Village, California firm's system also applies administrator-set rules to each request, ensuring that users get only the data they should. With InterConclave prices starting at $5,100, Asgent hopes to sell 200 systems the first year.
In an industry first, INTEGRATED SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. will bundle Orlando, Florida-based GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATES, INC.'s GNAT Box 3.0 firewall software with an insurance policy from TOKIO MARINE & FIRE INSURANCE CO., LTD. that protects against losses if hackers manage to penetrate a client's servers and destroy data. Each package is tailored to the size and the needs of a corporation's network. For example, an annual premium of $5,800 will cover hacker damages of up to $485,400; another $100 a month will take care of the repair costs. Tokyo's Integrated Systems is forecasting sales of 500 packages in 2000.
For those companies seeking another layer of protection against hackers, TEIJIN SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY LTD. is offering a high-performance operating system from ARGUS SYSTEMS GROUP, INC. that is built from the ground up with security in mind. The Savoy, Illinois firm's PitBull OS is designed to protect data and programs from intrusions in network and Internet computing environments. It runs on the Solaris operating system, which is common in the Internet server community. TST also is marketing and supporting Argus Systems' PitBull.comPack (formerly known as Gibraltar) suite, which provides end-to-end security for on-line transactions and e-commerce. The distributor expects sales of the two packages to hit $4.9 million the first year.
MICROSOFT CORP. announced the Japanese-lan-guage version of its next-generation network operating system, Windows 2000 Server. The Redmond, Washington software giant incorporated many new features aimed at business users' needs as well as stability, speed and other enhancements to the new edition. It will be available in late February 2000.
As for the Linux open-source operating system, the subsidiary of market leader RED HAT, INC. drafted NEC CORP. to offer users support for the Japanese version of Red Hat's version of Linux. NEC will open an in-house Linux technical support center for its own divisions and affiliates. It also will work with the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina company to ensure that its Linux OS runs smoothly on NEC computers. .....In a related move, RED HAT, INC. released through its marketing unit a Linux driver for the SCSI controller chip found in many NEC CORP. machines. That part is the AIC-7899 from ADAPTEC, INC. of Milpitas, California. The driver presumably will help Red Hat Linux gain more ground in the corporate server market, where the high-speed SCSI data transfer protocol is firmly entrenched.
In an additional sign that NEC CORP. is serious about becoming a top Linux provider in Japan, it inked a service and support agreement with another developer of the open- source OS, TURBOLINUX, INC. Personnel from Japan's top supplier of servers will provide frontline support for the San Francisco firm's version of the OS, with behind-the- scenes, in-depth expertise offered by TurboLinux staff. The two companies also agreed to cooperate on marketing and promoting TurboLinux in Japan and Asia by touting its CPU clustering features, which are unique in the Linux community.
Separately, TURBOLINUX, INC.'s subsidiary released two key packages based on its version of the OS. TurboLinux Server 6.0 hones the software's clustering abilities and simplifies installation and setup in complex business computing environments. At the same time, the TurboLinux marketing unit brought out MAGIC SOFTWARE ENTERPRISES INC.'s application development environment for Linux in cooperation with the Irvine, California company's subsidiary. dbMagic Enterprise Edition v8.2 is optimized for client- server and Internet programs, especially e-commerce (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 30).
DARTCOM, INC. and BUNKA ORIENT CORP. formed an alliance to promote and support the Syracuse, New York company's PowerTCP Internet application development tools. Bunka Orient, a market leader in the component software segment in Japan, is localizing PowerTCP, which turns ordinary applications into Web-friendly ones by brokering communications with the Internet. It will sell PowerTCP under the iNet name, bundling it with other utilities and support for the Windows (iNetWinsock), Internet messaging (iNetMail) and financial services (iNetTransfer) markets.
To help companies develop, produce and implement bug-free software, REASONING, INC. and partner TOSHIBA ENGINEERING CORP. are offering a software quality- assurance service built around the Mountain View, California firm's programs. Inspector Plus for Quality Assurance uses a five-step methodology: preliminary source-code inspection, technical review, final inspection (including automated source-code checking and analysis of defects), final report to the customer and periodic reinspection. Reasoning tied up with TEC in August 1998 to resell and support its Year 2000 compliance testing suite.
The latest addition to LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s products that deepen the integration between its Domino/Notes groupware and other enterprise applications is Lotus Enterprise Solutions Builder r3.0, a development and run-time package. ESB Developer uses LotusScript to build and debug logic to integrate data from other programs with Domino-based applications. ESB Runtime functions either on a Domino server or a dedicated server. Lotus is touting the software's ability to create sophisticated, interactive links between Domino and other programs and its ability to handle the high volume of transactions in demanding corporate e-commerce environments.
Also focused on integrating legacy data and applications for e-business is TSI INTERNATIONAL SOFTWARE LTD.'s Mercator middleware. Now available in a fully localized edition with capabilities added for the Japanese market, Mercator boasts an easy- to-use graphical interface, broad conversion algorithms and snappy performance. The Wilton, Connecticut firm's marketing partners MITSUI & CO., LTD., MITSUI KNOWLEDGE INDUSTRY CO., LTD., TOYO ENGINEERING CORP. and UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary have launched promotion campaigns to maintain the momentum of recent contract wins. These include deals with MITSUI TRUST & BANKING CO., LTD., NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP., NOMURA RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 29), SAKURA BANK, LTD., SEIKO EPSON CORP. and SONY CORP.
Admitting that enterprise IT departments will adopt the rival Windows 2000 framework to run their networks and, therefore, its Active Directory service NOVELL, INC.'s subsidiary released corporate and e-commerce editions of Novell Directory Services that work with Microsoft's network operating system. NDS eDirectory is a stand-alone, cross- platform LDAP directory service tailored for the special demands of e-com-merce. NDS Corporate Edition offers single-point management of user accounts, profiles, access policies, preferences and security credentials in a heterogeneous hardware/software environment.
VERITAS SOFTWARE CORP. and NEC CORP. are broadening their relationship. The big Japanese server manufacturer will bundle the Mountain View, California company's Backup Exec with its entry-level Express5800 server and NetBackup with its high-end Express5800 backup server for enterprise data protection in Windows NT environments. NEC now sells and supports VERITAS' full software lineup, including File System and Volume Manager for its Unix systems (UP4800/EWS4800 servers).
In early February 2000, VISIO CORP.'s local unit will release a high-end version of the Visio 2000 information technology planning package. Visio 2000 Professional Edition, which lists for $800, has new tools, a new drawing engine and a new model-based approach to IT diagraming. The interface also has been streamlined, and toolbars have been made customizable; support for larger drawings is another change. Together, Visio 2000 Professional makes quick and simple work of describing even the most complex IT computing environment, easing IT administrators' tasks.
The marketing subsidiary of Houston's BMC SOFTWARE, INC. and FUJITSU, LTD. are planning to cooperate on automated management solutions for enterprise computing systems. Their main goal is to integrate BMC's PATROL application service management platform (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 30) with Fujitsu's SystemWalker IT resource management system. The pair will target the large installed base of SAP R/3 users for their integrated product. They expect to sell it to 200 firms over the next three years.
To capitalize on the rapid growth of Linux-based servers, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary and OBIC BUSINESS CONSULTANTS CO., LTD. are working together to integrate the Linux version of the Oracle 8i data base with Obic's Bugyo 2000 enterprise resource planning package for small businesses. The partners will market the package separately by bundling it with a variety of other software and services for prices starting at $15,100.
In the computer-aided systems control market, ECHELON CORP. and partner DAI-DAN CO., LTD. of Osaka have designed a LonWorks solution for Singapore's Ministry of Education. The government agency will use the Palo Alto, California firm's software, which should be up and running in February 2000, to control the lighting and air conditioning at its offices. Dai-Dan also is a LonWorks user and gives clients tours of its facilities to showcase the package. .....Separately, ECHELON CORP.'s LonWorks will form the basis for NTT DATA CORP.'s new building-management outsourcing program. It will design, implement and maintain LonWorks installations for the construction and property-management industries. NTT Data plans to begin offering its new services in April 2000.
DENDRITE INTERNATIONAL, INC. of Morristown, New Jersey has landed a major new customer for its sales-force-automation solution, J-Force. The subsidiary of WARNER- LAMBERT CO.'s Parke-Davis division will deploy J-Force, which is designed specifically for the Japanese pharmaceutical industry, over the next six months to link in-house, field and home sales representatives with each other and their managers. Dentrite counts a number of pharmaceutical companies in Japan, both local and foreign, among its customers (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 28).
A new customer help-desk package from COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC.'s marketing operation is aimed at the modest needs and budgets of small companies. The ServiceIT 4.32 Workgroup solution not only automates some aspects of handling telephone and e-mail inquiries from customers but also can analyze their content to make helpful suggestions. Moreover, at $9,700 for a three-seat license or $14,600 for a five-seat package, the CAI software is much less expensive to buy and maintain than competing products.
At the other end of the enterprise spectrum, MICROSOFT CORP. has received an order for a terabyte-class Windows NT 4.0/SQL Server 7.0 system to handle the huge customer relationship management needs of YASUDA FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD. Microsoft no doubt will showcase the installation, which should be finished in March 2000, in part because the combination of the Windows NT 4.0 Server operating system and the SQL Server relational data base management system can handle the heavy computing demands of Japan's second-largest property and casualty insurer. In addition, though, the system will cut operating and maintenance costs by about 40 percent a year compared to Yasuda Fire & Marine's current mainframe-based CRM setup.
Business intelligence solutions continue to evolve in step with the rapid growth of the Internet and intranets. NET PERCEPTIONS, INC.'s local arm (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 26), for example, is rolling out Japanese-language versions of its Minneapolis parent's business intelligence software for call centers and e- commerce. Net Perceptions for Call Centers 2.0 allows customer representatives to quickly develop appropriate answers and product offerings for callers. Expected to ship in February 2000, this product will cost $504,900 annually for a 300-seat license, including maintenance. Net Perceptions for E-Commerce 5.0 is designed to integrate with on-line shopping systems, allowing the analysis of users' buying habits and the creation of individualized Web pages. It will be available in April 2000. This package will go for $213,600 for a Web site with 100,000 customers or more.
Competitor BROADBASE SOFTWARE, INC., however, continues to land new customers for its business intelligence programs, including ADVANTEST CORP., CULTURE CONVENIENCE CLUB CO., LTD. and NTT LEASING CORP. All three use the Menlo Park, California firm's solutions to create profiles of individual customers that then shape responses to customer calls or generate individualized Web pages on the fly.
A business intelligence solution aimed more at company-to-company relations is available from the subsidiary of BUSINESS OBJECTS SA and new marketing partner SOFTBANK COMMERCE CORP. The two plan to open a Business Objects Solution Center in Tokyo to attract and support users of the San Jose, California firm's software. The Business Objects platform allows organizations to access, analyze and share information via the Internet, intranet or extranet.
Although computer accounting packages for small companies are a dime a dozen, a new system from COMSHARE INC. that integrates all aspects of planning, budgeting and reporting with powerful analysis tools is aimed at large and midsize corporations. The Ann Arbor, Michigan firm touts BudgetPLUS as a business intelligence accounting solution that can help companies reduce the time and the effort needed to complete each budget cycle. BEACON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INC. of Tokyo will sell and support BudgetPlus. Its goal is 10 contracts in the first year of marketing for the $58,300-and-up package.
TACTICIAN CORP. of Andover, Massachusetts is offering its self-named geographic information system solution through GIKEN SHOJI INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD. Tactician 2000 (known as Tactician 5.0 in the United States) features a faster map-drawing engine, an easier interactive mapping interface for the Internet, in-depth analysis tools and the ability to include a broad range of data types in its maps and reports. With the goal of selling 1,000 systems the first year, Nagoya-based GSI will target retailers and restaurant chains by promoting the software's ability to select store locations and perform marketing analyses. The basic software engine costs about $4,900.
"WorkSmart Technology" built into INTERGRAPH CORP.'s latest version of its two-dimensional precision design and diagraming program puts "intelligence" into the point of the program's cursor, helping designers to work more efficiently and productively. Drawing symbols can be imbued with properties, behaviors and actions, just as objects and symbols can be linked automatically with SmartConnectors. SmartLabels and SmartDimensions round out the tool palette of SmartSketch 3.0, allowing all design changes to be made easily and to be automatically reflected throughout the project. Intergraph's subsidiary hopes to sell 20,000 copies of the $950 SmartSketch 3.0 package the first year.
AUTODESK, INC. has made three additions to its Japanese line of products. Autodesk CAD Overlay 2000 lets AutoCAD 2000 users combine information-rich imagery with their intelligent vector-based drawings. The San Rafael, California firm thinks that the combination of images and drawings will improve the power and the productivity of drawings in real estate development, architecture, mechanical design and geographic information systems. Autodesk's subsidiary sees sales of the $2,400 Autodesk CAD Overlay 2000 reaching 3,000 units a year. .....AUTODESK, INC.'s Data Exchange 2000 allows AutoCAD 2000 drawings to be converted into two popular formats: Initial Graphics Exchange Specification, which is used by the U.S. govern-ment, and the International Standards Organization's STEP. The package costs $95 per format. .....Lastly, AUTODESK, INC.'s marketing arm is developing a utility that converts AutoCAD 2000 files into the Ministry of Construction's SCADEC format. MOC wants to conduct its entire public-works bidding and management process electronically beginning in April 2001, making the conversion utility a must-have for the 40 percent of Japan's construction industry that uses Autodesk software. According to current plans, the Autodesk subsidiary will have the software ready by August 2000.
Following CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC.'s July 1999 purchase of Portland, Oregon-based ORCAD, INC., the subsidiary of the world leader in electronic design automation tools has absorbed OrCAD's local staff and business. This operation has become Cadence Design's PCB Systems Division. By combining their individually strong positions in the market for PCB design software, the enlarged Cadence unit plans to target the critical Japanese market even more aggressively.
Also angling for a bigger share of Japan's EDA market, MAGMA DESIGN AUTOMATION, INC. has established a majority-owned subsidiary in Yokohama in cooperation with exclusive distributor SC HIGHTECH CORP. The new organization will offer better sales and technical support to users of the Cupertino, California firm's Blast Fusion physical design system, including FUJITSU, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 363, December 1999, p. 35). Magma Design hopes to boost Blast Fusion orders to $9.7 million during its subsidiary's first year of business. The package costs $388,300, or about the same as competing products. However, Blast Fusion is said to cut chip design time from the usual year to just two or three months.
Following the same expansion path, DENALI SOFTWARE, INC. of Palo Alto, California opened an office in Tokyo. The new operation will begin direct sales and support for Denali's memory subsystem design automation packages, including the Memory Modeler simulation tool and the PureData verification program. Denali already has won a contract from FUJITSU, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 32).
Staking its claim to a share of the next generation of wireless products, WIDCOMM, INC. of San Diego, California appointed the subsidiary of INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. to promote and distribute its Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth promises to link cellular phones with a broad range of consumer electronic devices, such as digital cameras, GPS (global positioning system) receivers, smart appliances and intelligent industrial machines.
With an eye on more immediate market opportunities, CYBERTEL, INC. has struck a partnership agreement with CYBIRD CO., LTD., one of Japan's top ISPs, to offer universal messaging and communications services based on the Hazlet, New Jersey firm's know-how. CyberTel's solution is based on the Internet Protocol standard, enabling users to access, manage and respond to pager, voice mail, facsimile and e-mail messages from any device connected to an IP or PSTN (publicly switched telephone network) network. Cybird was to launch trials of the CyberTel service in January 2000, with full operations scheduled to begin by April 2000.
PUMA TECHNOLOGY, INC. is working hard to retain its leading position in the market for synchronization software for handheld devices. The San Jose, California company has forged a relationship with number-three cellular services provider IDO CORP. to integrate its Intellisync for EZaccesss with IDO's network. This technology will enable wireless access to information via next-generation browser-based handsets. Considering that Puma previously had signed up NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC., the dominant player in Japan's cellular business (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 29), the IDO pact gives Puma substantial coverage in the world's largest cellular phone market. .....PUMA TECHNOLOGY, INC. has a good reason to be diligent. IBM JAPAN LTD. has just released a software solution that allows microcellular PHS units to exchange data automatically. The company says that the program can be used to distribute announcements or public bulletins transparently and for essentially no cost as long as the PHS units are no more than 100 yards apart and the message is less than three minutes long. IBM Japan has created virtual bulletin boards for corporations and schools to demonstrate its latest technical breakthrough.
Also hoping to ride the wireless craze is SPYGLASS INC. The Naperville, Illinois company is the developer of Prism, a program that converts on the fly Internet content for display on the small screens of personal digital assistants, and of a system to support two- way interaction for digital television. To promote and support its technology, Spyglass upgraded its Tokyo office to a subsidiary. The new organization plans to boost staffing from seven people to 15 by September 2000, mainly to convert the company's products into Japanese. FUJITSU, LTD. already uses Prism (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 363, December 1999, p. 31). The subsidiary is targeting other big electronics makers. Spyglass now generates about 10 percent of its revenues in Japan. If its various strategies are successful, that ratio could reach roughly 40 percent in the year through September 2003.
Going up against SPYGLASS INC.'s interactive TV offering, OPENTV, INC. is pitching its iTV know-how to Japan's digital satellite and cable television operators. The Mountain View, California company, which has financial backing from some big American Internet, broadcast and broadband companies, has opened an office in Tokyo to lead the effort. The OpenTV set-top box software already has been licensed to four name Japanese companies: MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., NEC CORP., SONY CORP. and TOSHIBA CORP.
An exchange rate of ¥103=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaa