In a much anticipated move, a Japanese version of EBAY INC.'s person-to-person trading community has gone live. With more than 800 merchandise categories, visitors have access to a broad range of goods offered by sellers in Japan and priced in yen. Customers also can view merchandise listed around the world, with pricing either in yen or in dollars. eBay charges the equivalent of 20 cents to $2.20 to put something up for sale and a transaction fee of 1.25 percent to 5 percent of the item's price. To kick-start its Japanese auction site, eBay tied up with NEC CORP., the operator of one of Japan's top ISPs, BIGLOBE. The electronics giant took a 30 percent stake in EBAY JAPAN K.K. and agreed to promote the site through both off-line and on-line marketing. .....Simultaneously, EBAY INC. opened a merchant-to-person auction Web site for local users. Supershops allows individuals to bid on a wide range of goods offered by such vendors as MITSUI REAL ESTATE SALES CO., LTD., a broker of single-family homes and condominiums, used vehicle auctioneer AUCNET INC. and others.
Playing to the Japanese penchant for being part of a group, ECIRCLES, INC. has teamed with the subsidiary of ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC. to launch a fully localized version of its virtual community and affinity group portal. Besides on-line gaming, executives of the San Mateo, California firm expect the sharing of digital images to be a major draw of eCircles.com. Adobe's ActiveShare software makes it easy for users to post, share and print images from the Internet. Forthcoming communications applications include discussion groups, chat rooms and group calendars. A localized e-mail service also will be available.
Also with an eye on the Japanese shutterbug audience, Seattle's PICTUREIQ CORP. (formerly Digital Intelligence, Inc.) will integrate its photographic posting and editing technology into the virtual community portal run by JSIDE.COM, INC., a subsidiary of HIKARI TSUSHIN, INC. Based on imaging and video technologies licensed from ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC., PictureIQ is a device-independent imaging architecture that allows Web masters and makers of consumer electronics products to embed flexible, powerful and easy-to-use digital photography capabilities into their products. The PictureIQ technology is expected to be deployed sometime in the second quarter. It will be the first localized Web implementation of that expertise. Thus, Jside.com believes, it will draw even more people to its rapidly growing visitor and cell phone-based communities.
Japanese demanding professional images soon will have a new option. REALTIMEIMAGE, INC. is making its RenderView suite of on-line, collaborative tools available through an exclusive three-year master distribution agreement with MARUBENI CORP. and a subdistributor pact with DIT. CO., LTD. The San Mateo, California firm's technology makes it possible to view very large image and graphic files via the Internet in real time. Marubeni will localized RenderView, while Dit. will be responsible for managing all software-related installation and administrative operations. The pair will pitch RenderView to printing firms, pre-press shops, advertising agencies and graphics arts professionals.
Local audiophiles no doubt will applaud the forthcoming creation of an equally owned venture by LISTEN.COM, INC. and TRANS COSMOS INC. The San Francisco developer of a comprehensive digital music directory and one of Japan's leading Internet venture-capital companies will launch LISTEN.COM JAPAN, INC. later this year. It will offer a simple way to find, discover and legally download music by more than 50,000 artists via links to 400 Web sites. In connection with the announcement of this deal, Trans Cosmos' Bellevue, Washington subsidiary made an undisclosed equity investment in Listen.com, which previously received funding from all five of the world's major music labels.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has jumped into the burgeoning market for on-line education, offering two software packages. The first creates a virtual classroom where instructors and students can interact in real time. The second is a nonsynchronous system for students preferring self-paced on-line courses. HP Japan is targeting training companies and conference management firms with an annual revenue goal of $1.8 million. Tuition for the real-time package starts at about $40 per hour per person, while a nonsynchronous course for 100 students over a three-month period costs $13,300.
With GPS (global positioning system) navigation aids an option on more vehicles sold in Japan and built-in mobile cellular communications systems being touted as the next "must-have" accessory, @ROAD INC. has teamed with HITACHI SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. to introduce its patented Web-enabled location technology. The Fremont, California firm's software integrates GPS, wireless data networks and Internet access to accurately locate vehicles and provide them with position-dependent information in real time. Obvious potential customers that Hitachi Software Engineering will cultivate include trucking companies and firms with employees in the field.
Already famed for the quality of personalized attention they deliver, Japanese services firms now will find it easier to take advantage of Internet technologies to boost their efficiency. The RTS Service Suite from RTS SOFTWARE INC. has been available since the spring of 1998 but only in English. However, the modules recently were completely localized and put on the market by OMRON ALPHATEC CO., LTD., one of the Waltham, Massachusetts firm's distributors. They handle automated service contract processing (RTS Service Contract), delivery of services (RTS Workforce Management), spare parts inventory and logistics control (RTS Service Supply Chain) and repair procedures (RTS Depot Repair). In addition, the RTS Service Suite has a business intelligence module and remote access tools that enable users to plan, analyze, implement and manage complex, distributed services operations.
With digital rights management of the software and other products distributed via the Internet becoming a growing concern, MICROSOFT CORP. has teamed with FUJITSU, LTD. and FUJITSU SUPPORT AND SERVICE INC. to offer on-line software license management solutions. Clients can use the solution's secure tools to deliver software via the Internet and also to track its usage and spread. Major software users will benefit by cutting software licensing costs, while software developers will guard against piracy. The three partners hope to sign up 1,000 customers for their services and to generate $91.7 million in revenues over the next three years.
SMARTAGE.COM CORP., a specialist in B2B e-commerce services for small companies, and SOFTBANK COMMERCE CORP., a wholly owned SOFTBANK CORP. unit, formed a joint venture to launch what the San Francisco-based partner says is the first comprehensive Web site for small business owners in Japan. SMARTAGE JAPAN CORP., in which SmartAge.com has a 44.4 percent stake, plans to go live with its Web site in June, helping small businesses to expand their operations and make money on-line by enabling them to create cutting-edge Web pages for marketing, on-line sales and other Internet functions. The Japanese Web presence will be SmartAge.com's first international effort. SOFTBANK CAPITAL PARTNERS LP is an investor in the U.S. company (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 11). For Softbank Commerce, the venture with SmartAge.com complements an agreement with VERTICALNET, INC. to set up a company to provide B2B e-commerce services for big companies (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 365, February 2000, p. 24).
OTSUKA SHOKAI CO., LTD. is marketing a members-only Internet portal featuring e-commerce and CALS (continuous acquisition and life-cycle support) services for the Japanese construction industry. Based on software and know-how from AUTODESK, INC. and MICROSOFT CORP., the portal is intended to help small firms in the field participate in e-com-merce and CALS work for larger companies. With training and consulting for members provided by the two American firms, Otsuka Shokai hopes to sign up 50,000 firms within three years.
Reasoning that every company uses office supplies, MICROSOFT CORP.'s local arm and FUJI XEROX CO., LTD. have codeveloped the B2B virtual Office Supply Marketplace. Utilizing Microsoft's proposed BizTalk version of the eXtensible Markup Language, Fuji Xerox built the B2B exchange using Windows NT, SQL Server and other Microsoft products. The partners hope within a year to have 100 firms buying and selling supplies via the exchange, generating sales of $185.3 million annually.
Going after the whole B2B market, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary is offering to build on-line exchanges to meet any customer need. This includes industry-specific B2B virtual marketplaces, such as the auto- xchange site its parent built for FORD MOTOR CO. and its suppliers, as well as horizontal exchanges that are open to any company and even regional-specific exchanges. Oracle also will try to recruit Japanese companies to participate in worldwide exchanges. It hopes to have the first B2B exchange on-line by midyear.
In part to defend its claim to operate the world's largest B2B trading community, COMMERCE ONE, INC. opened a Tokyo subsidiary. The office's mandate not only is to cement and enhance the Walnut Creek, California firm's ties with its existing partners and customers in Japan but also to persuade other companies there and elsewhere in Asia of the benefits of Commerce One's approach to B2B global e- commerce. Consisting of many open e-marketplaces, the Commerce One Global Trading Web enables buyers, suppliers and services providers regardless of industry or geographic location to reach a worldwide market at any time.
STERLING COMMERCE, INC. licensed its technology to NTT WORLDWIDE TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORP., the operator of the Arcstar global communications network, and KAWASAKI STEEL SYS-TEMS R&D CORP., a provider of systems and network integration services, as a prelude to a partnership effort to win a share of the growing market for e-business services outsourcing and consulting in Japan and other Asian countries. Drawing on the Columbus, Ohio firm's E-Business Center a business process integration suite that allows companies to connect, collaborate, transact business and streamline relationships on-line NTT Worldwide and Kawasaki Steel Systems will offer a variety of e-business software and service solutions. Kawasaki Steel Systems has distributed Sterling Commerce's GENTRAN family of e-business process integration solutions for the last three years.
With Japanese consumers gradually becoming more confident about shopping on-line, ELGRANDE.- COM INC. has decided to move into the market. It has a letter of intent to acquire Tokyo-based MDH CONSULTANTS INC. for $200,000 in cash and Elgrande.-com common stock. Once the deal is completed, the outfit will be rechristened SHOPENGINE (ASIA) CORP. It will take charge of developing a Japanese version of ShopEngine and entering other Asian markets. ShopEngine, Elgrande.com's flagship product, provides the tools for vendors to maintain a product and price data base on-line in real time from which a virtual store can be built. It also handles the fulfillment of orders and payment processes.
STYLECLICK.COM, INC. has brought its comprehensive e-commerce and on-line shopping enhancement know-how to local users through an alliance with ISP STYLECLICK-JP, INC. The Culver City, California firm provides more than just a virtual store for brand-name, stylish fashions and accessories, however. It also helps manufacturers and retailers promote and distribute their products on-line. In exchange for assisting Styleclick-JP to build and manage the localized Styleclick.com site, which was scheduled to launch in March, the U.S. firm will receive up-front fees of approximately $1.4 million. It also has rights to a share of the revenues generated by the new Web site.
Also going after the e-commerce solutions market is MAGIC SOFTWARE ENTERPRISES INC. Even though the Irvine, California firm's year-old-or-so subsidiary already has seven sales offices, it lined up five firms to market, sell and support the Magic eMerchant package. The five, which also agreed to use the solution as a basis for all future e-business programs they implement, are: AGREX INC., an affiliate of FUJITSU, LTD., NAV ASSIST CORP., SUMISHO 4S CORP. and TOSHIBA ENGINEERING CORP. In addition, PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS CONSULTANTS CO. was engaged to provide its consulting and integration know-how. Magic Software hopes that its strong position in the Japanese market for application development tools and its established base of 18,000 corporate customers will give it a head start in the e-commerce solutions race.
To help e-commerce sites provide a better virtual shopping experience, INFORMIX CORP.'s local unit has released a Japanese version of Informix i.Sell. The solution integrates the Menlo Park, California firm's powerful data base and application server technology with an e-commerce suite, tools, enterprise consulting and global services. The package allows Web sites to generate individualized pages and responses to visitors based on their customer profile and other data.
Convenient billing for on-line transactions clearly is a key to winning the loyalty of Japanese Web surfers. With that in mind, CARDSERVICE INTERNATIONAL, INC., which describes itself as the largest privately owned credit-card processor in the industry, became the dominant shareholder in e-commerce provider ZEUS CORP. in order to begin offering on-line account settlement services to local credit-card issuers and merchants. The Woburn, Massachusetts firm's $183,500 investment will allow Zeus to target small and midsize retailers with an e-commerce presence in its initial marketing campaign. Cardservice International also is using its link with Zeus to introduce two of its secure but user-friendly payment engines to on-line merchants in Japan: LinkPoint HTML and the high-end LinkPoint API, which allows participants to add secure sockets layer encryption capabilities to their products, services or custom storefronts.
In a similar vein, the joint venture that Reston, Virginia-based CYBERCASH, INC. formed in the summer of 1997 with SOFTBANK FINANCE CORP. and other investors has accepted a $2.5 million investment from SOFTBANK CORP. to boost its on-line credit-card settlement services for Internet malls and e-commerce sites. Cybercash currently has a 30 percent-plus interest in its self-named affiliate. The Softbank Group's share now is 49 percent versus 39.4 percent beforehand.
The advanced e-mail messaging solution and services offered by COMMTOUCH SOFTWARE LTD. have been chosen by TOSHIBA CORP. for its new Biz-Offi portal. The Santa Clara, California company's outsourced e-mail services will complement BizOffi's menu of business-oriented information. Commtouch first began providing Japanese-based outsourced e-mail services in 1997. Today, it claims nearly 1 million end users.
CYPOST CORP. has completed its purchase of PLAYA CORP., the developer of the popular Yabumi instant messaging and e-greeting card service (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 27). The $3 million acquisition will give the Dover, Delaware developer of secure e- communications tools for use on the Internet and private networks an immediate market presence of 85,000 instant messaging users, 700,000 e-greeting card hits a month and 64,000 registered users of Yabumi's free e-mail service. By yearend, CyPost believes, the number of instant messaging users could reach 150,000.
Aiming at ISPs and operators of large intranets and extranets, FOURELLE SYSTEMS, INC. of Santa Clara, California released its bandwidth-optimization solution through KANEMATSU ELECTRONICS LTD. Venturi 1.5 improves bandwidth usage and availability by compressing text-based transactions up to 85 percent and graphics transmissions as much as 60 percent. In addition, Venturi's Intelligent Flow Control adjusts the randomness of packet flow on the Internet to reduce packet loss and redundant packet transmissions.
With e-commerce booming and the need for security growing in tandem, Tokyo-headquartered CADIX INC. cloned its San Jose, California subsidiary, CYBER SIGN, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 364, January 2000, p. 9), in Japan. CADIX owns 55 percent of the new firm. Its partners, each of which holds more than 10 percent of the venture, are: FUJITSU, LTD., MA-TSUSHITA COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., the venture capital arm of NIKKO SECURITIES CO., LTD. and SOFTBANK CORP. Cyber SIGN's electronic signature technology uses the biometric data on the dynamics of a person's signature speed, style, pressure and timing to verify their identity during the act of signing. Its software is smart enough to track the natural changes of a signature over time as well as to allow for slight variations in a handwritten signature. The system is paperless and conducted in real time via the Web, allowing users to authorize and sign electronic documents and transactions from any Internet access point.
NETWORK ICE CORP. has released a localized version of its BlackICE Defender firewall through distributor TOYO CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 29). With its "no configuration" installation, BlackICE Defender is targeted at Windows 95/98/NT users with "always-on" DSL or cable-mo-dem connections to the Internet. The San Mateo, California firm's system tracks traffic, detects intrusions and blocks them without slowing other transmissions by using a minimum of system resources and memory.
Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon-based WEBTRENDS CORP. released its Firewall Suite 3.0 through SOFTBOAT INC. The package monitors the performance of a wide range of firewalls, gathering data on incoming and outgoing traffic, employee Web usage, bandwidth utilization by user or destination, protocol distribution and several other metrics that can help administrators analyze their security precautions and maximize the use of Internet resources.
Jumping into an extremely competitive market, ODS NETWORKS, INC. picked FORVAL CREATIVE, INC. to market and support its INTRUSION.COM, INC. subsidiary's portfolio of security software and hardware products. Designed to complement CHECK POINT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES LTD.'s products, the Richardson, Texas firm's SecureCom security appliances, Kane Secure Enterprise (formerly CMDS) intrusion detection and analysis suite and Kane Security assessment and monitoring package provide enterprises with a comprehensive, in-depth defense against hackers.
By integrating packages from three U.S. firms, Tokyo-based ASGENT, INC. hopes to offer a similar multilayered approach to network defense for Unix-based systems. WEBTRENDS CORP.'s Firewall Suite 3.0 provides the front line of defense by monitoring and assessing firewall activity. Next, COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC.'s AutoSecure Access Control for Unix authenticates users when they initially request access to a server. The final layer of protection is FRESHWATER SOFTWARE, INC.'s SiteScope, which monitors server and transaction activity behind the firewall. Asgent offers several combinations of hardware and consulting services for prices ranging from $4,800 to $8,200. It has set a sales goal of 500 integrated packages a year.
NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. named SUMITOMO CORP. as a primary distributor of its security software products. The trader joins ASSIST CO., LTD. and SOFTBANK CORP. in that position. Sumitomo has formed a 15-person team, including engineers, to build a security systems integration business around NAI's products. The group, which is expected to double in size by yearend, has the capabilities to assess a client's security measures, analyze their performance and design enhancements and improvements. Sumitomo hopes these activities will ring up $22.9 million worth of NAI software sales in 2000. After three years, it projects, software sales and integration services will generate revenues of $91.7 million annually. In conjunction with the new distribution arrangements, Sumitomo and Softbank each acquired a 1 percent stake in NAI's subsidiary, while Assist invested the equivalent of a 0.25 percent interest.
Signaling an increased commitment to the Japanese market, TRIPWIRE, INC. opened a Tokyo office to sell its intrusion detection and monitoring tools (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, pp. 28-29) directly to customers. The Portland, Oregon firm's office will be staffed by 10 employees by the end of this year. They will work with Tripwire's existing roster of distributors, including a KYOCERA CORP. affiliate, MATSUSHITA INTER-TECHNO CO., LTD. and TOSHIBA INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORP. Tripwire, which launched English-language versions of its products in Japan in April 1999, expects its direct-sales efforts to produce revenues of $4.6 million in the first year. That projection presumably reflects the near-term introduction of a localized version of a server-installed program that detects tampering of Web sites.
Several Japanese PC retailers planned to begin selling the localized version of MICROSOFT CORP.'s latest operating system, Windows 2000, at midnight of its international debut day in anticipation of strong consumer demand. Even though experts say that business users will benefit the most from the all-new operating system given its links to Windows NT 4.0, retailers think that individuals will be interested because the package incorporates functions from Windows 98. An upgrade from that operating system has a street price of $155.
APPLE COMPUTER, INC. continues to lay the foundation for the debut of its new-from-the-ground-up Mac OS X operating system. With the Japanese market accounting for a significant share of global Apple sales and local Mac users some of the company's most loyal customers, Apple's subsidiary announced that the new OS will include the highest quality Japanese fonts and an expanded font set when it begins shipping. The fonts 17,000 characters in each of six typefaces will be licensed from DAINIPPON SCREEN MANUFACTURING CO., LTD. They are based on the Japanese firm's highly regarded Hiragino professional publishing font. Mac OS X will be preloaded as the standard operating system on all Macintosh computers beginning in 2001.
Aiming to push the open-source Linux operating system out of its current niche applications, the subsidiary of TURBOLINUX, INC. introduced a localized version of its San Francisco parent's clustering extensions for Linux. TurboCluster Server 4.0J is the first Linux implementation that allows users to link together multiple processors as a single node, improving the OS's suitability for mission-critical systems and such high-volume applications as e-commerce. License prices range from $1,200 for a two-server node to $2,300 for an unlimited number of servers. Those charges are less than a tenth of the price of comparable Unix clustering software, TurboLinux officials say.
Crosstown compatriot LINUXCARE, INC. established a subsidiary in Tokyo to meet the rising demand for Linux consulting and support. Besides providing localized versions of Linuxcare's four strategic business lines professional services (consulting, integration, migration and customization), 24x7 technical support, Linuxcare University and Linuxcare Labs (vendor-neu-tral certification and benchmarking) to Japanese customers, the new unit will be in charge of coordinating Linuxcare's entire Asian Pacific operations.
COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s marketing arm introduced a compiler for the company's Alpha family of 64-bit RISC processors optimized for the Linux OS. The compiler currently is available for two languages: Compaq Fortran for Linux Alpha v.1 ($625) and Compaq C for Linux Alpha v.6.2 ($75). Its release should help firms migrate from legacy systems to the new Linux/Alpha environment. The sales subsidiary of Farmington Hills, Michigan-based COMPUWARE CORP. is trying to latch on to the popularity of ORACLE CORP. software for e-commerce applications by releasing a version of its debugger for PL/SQL source code. XPEDITER/SQL 3.1J offers improved handling of software "stalls" when waiting for locked objects, better step-through debugging features and greater support for global variables.
UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary is marketing its own unique component model-based integrated development environment for Unix and Windows NT systems. Lucina (pronounced Loo-kee-na) cuts project times by encouraging the reuse of components as well as by allowing parallel creation and optimization of software modules. The Unisys unit, which will provide consulting and support for the new IDE, hopes to get 60 companies to try it over the next three years. A basic license for Lucina starts at $13,800.
UNISCAPE, INC. of Redwood Shores, California has licensed its Web-based multilingual software localization management platform to COMPUTER INSTITUTE OF JAPAN, LTD. CIJ will deploy this solution with its internal localization staff and will use it to manage via the Web Japanization projects handled by its Santa Clara, California subsidiary. The contract represents Uniscape's first foray into the Asian market, but executives see a growing demand in the region for the company's on-line multilingual management technologies because of the explosion of Internet and e-com-merce activity.
Also acutely aware of the Internet boom, IBM JAPAN LTD. has begun offering 24-hour technical support to e-commerce clients as well as to those in the emerging application service provider field. The round- the-clock service comes at the bargain price of $735 a month for existing IBM Japan customers.
One of the world leaders in information technology, San Diego, California's SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL CORP., has agreed to team with MARUBENI CORP. to offer IT consulting services throughout the Asian Pacific region. Their comprehensive menu will include e-commerce applications, Web security and computer system development and integration. The partners could establish a joint venture in Japan as early as April to implement their collaboration. Given SAIC's international standing and the explosion of interest throughout Asia in IT, Marubeni believes that this business could be producing annual revenues of $917.4 million within five years.
With the Internet and e-commerce exponentially expanding the boundaries of a company's computing environment, the need to keep track of every user, hardware resource and data store becomes both more important and more difficult. NOVELL, INC. and marketing partner NETSERVE INC. have teamed up to help customers handle this task. They are using the latest versions of the Provo, Utah company's Novell Directory Service. NDS eDirectory is tuned for e-commerce applications, while NDS eDirectory Corporate Edition can handle the needs of big multinationals. In both cases, the software makes administering and monitoring large, dynamic, heterogeneous computing environments a manageable task. The packages also allow applications and processes to share data and resources.
Piggybacking on the release of the Windows 2000 operating system, VERITAS SOFTWARE CORP.'s affiliate is offering an updated version of its popular network backup utility, VERITAS Backup Exec. Version 8.0 reads and writes directly to the MICROSOFT CORP. backup utility. It can share devices among Windows and Novell NetWare networks and back up and recovers Microsoft Exchange installations. A basic license has an introductory price of $990, while an advanced license starts at $1,500-plus.
A new utility that allows NetWare users to print documents on remote printers via the Internet is available from NOVELL, INC.'s subsidiary. NetWare Enterprise Print Services simplifies network printer management and is platform and protocol agnostic. The solu-tion does depend, however, on printer manufacturers building a new standard gateway to the Internet into their machines. To date, HEWLETT- PACKARD CO., LEXMARK INTERNATIONAL, INC., TEKTRONIX, INC. and XEROX CORP. plus SEIKO EPSON CORP. have done that.
NCR JAPAN, LTD. is lending its expertise in data-mining to a new business intelligence consulting project initiated by NTT COMMUNICATIONWARE CORP. The partners were to complete installation of a data- mining center at a NTT Communicationware facility this month and to launch client recruitment efforts. Besides providing accurate market trend analyses and forecasts, the two companies will use their data- mining resources to improve clients' customer relationship management systems. NCR Japan and NTT Communicationware expect the new business to produce revenues of around $91.7 million over the next five years.
Also in this market segment is the duo of CORVU CORP. and SHARP SYSTEM PRODUCTS, INC. The Japanese systems integrator has agreed to distribute the Minneapolis firm's business intelligence and performance management solutions as primary elements of its data warehouse product line. CorVu's CorBusiness helps users merge business visions, undertake competitive analysis and tailor metrics to enable effective execution of business strategies. Its CorManager is the only foreign "balanced scorecard" solution offered in Japanese. SSP officials expect it to raise the bar for competing products.
INFORMATICA CORP. has released an upgrade to its data integration packages that gives them multilingual capabilities. The Unicode extensions for PowerCenter, PowerMart, PowerConnect for SAP R/3 and PowerConnect for PeopleSoft were developed in cooperation with MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP., the Palo Alto, California firm's primary distributor (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 357, June 1999, p. 26). MELCO already has sold licenses to the Informatica software to several companies described as among Japan's largest. MELCO also has paired Informatica's products with its own DIAPRISM data warehouse enhancement software and is reselling the bundle as a high-power, turnkey data integration solution.
INFORMATION BUILDERS has built a simple data integration and Web-enabled reporting and querying front-end for FUKUOKA BANK, LTD. Sold via and installed by the New York City firm's agent, ASHISUTO K.K., Information Builders' EDA, FOCUS and WebFOCUS products tie together the bank's various legacy mainframe systems and allow employees to access through the companywide intranet the records of any of the 3 million Fukuoka Bank customers in a few seconds from any of the bank's 142 branches. At the same time, customers can get account information on-line. Fukuoka Bank invested $10 million in hardware and software to implement the new solution.
Moving into the Japanese market, San Jose, California-based INPUT SOFTWARE, INC. signed a reseller agreement with WANBASHI ARCHIVES CO., LTD. for its InputAccel information-capture software. The localized version of InputAccel was developed with the Tokyo company's assistance. The software allows large volumes of information to be digitized and placed on-line. Input Software and Wanbashi Archives also have their first contract. It involves building an InputAccel system capable of digitizing more than 10 million credit-card applications submitted to JCB CO., LTD., Japan's largest credit-card issuer.
The subsidiary of Pleasanton, California-based PEOPLESOFT, INC. has engaged its PRICEWATER- HOUSECOOPERS CONSULTANTS CO. counterpart to help it localize and fine-tune the new version of its enterprise resource planning package, PeopleSoft 8.0. The pair has formed a 40-person localization and development unit that will recast the ERP software's user interface and feature set based on PWC's advice. After completing the makeover of the finance and human resources modules, the partners will work on the marketing/distribution management and manufacturing management sections.
ORACLE CORP. licensed its Oracle Applications ERP solution to HITACHI, LTD. for use in a new application service provider unit aimed at small businesses. Hitachi plans a three-stage rollout for its ERP service starting April 1. It first will offer e-commerce and Internet-based customer service management. It then plans to add on-line order and sales management services before completing its ERP menu with on- line procurement and purchasing services. The company plans to charge a base fee of $1,800 per month and $530 per user; such options as 24x7 technical support and custom development will be extra.
In a separate announcement, ORACLE CORP. revealed that FUJI SOFT ABC INC. will deploy the Oracle Applications ERP package to improve productivity and speed up operations throughout its administrative and manufacturing facilities. With Oracle's help, Fuji Soft ABC will custom-tailor Applications to its needs, beginning with accounting functions. The Japanese customer hopes to use Oracle's software to eventually integrate all aspects of its operations.
NIHON UNISYS, LTD. is marketing Expert CAM 2000, a computer-aided manufacturing suite developed in-house. Running on Windows NT systems, the program accepts data from a wide range of computer- aided design and engineering programs and formats, including IGES, JAMA-IS, Catia, I-DEAS and Unigraphics. Pricing of the package starts at $27,500; it also can be leased for $920 and up a month. Nihon Unisys hopes to sell 500 copies of Expert CAM 2000 the first year.
ENGINEERING GEOMETRY SYSTEMS has brought its 3D milling module to local users of its FeatureCAM v6 package. SolidM for FeatureCAM accelerates the creation of programs for computer numerically controlled machine tools by intelligently recognizing features in imported 3D CAD models. The add-on is available through the Salt Lake City, Utah firm's distributor, FCS INTERNATIONAL, INC., which aims to sell 120 units of the $5,500 program.
Mirroring the recent alliance between their parents, IBM JAPAN LTD. and the subsidiary of San Mateo, California-based SIEBEL SYSTEMS, INC. have teamed up to prepare five turnkey e-business packages. The first of the Start Now Series is a customer relationship management module, which the companies will jointly market and support. Future Start Now packages will be aimed at sales force automation, call center operations and data warehouse/mining.
Separately, SIEBEL SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary is offering its CRM solution to midsize firms through agreements with local application service providers. The Tokyo unit arranges the software licensing through the customer's existing ISP or ASP. Its initial focus is Siebel for Workgroups, which is designed for midsize companies.
Taking the same tack, the sales unit of FIREPOND, INC. is leasing its Waltham, Massachusetts parent's Signature Plus sales force automation package and FirePond Application Suite via the expanding ASP community. A big selling point of this delivery method is the savings achieved by leasing the software from an ASP. For Signature Plus, the starting fee of $91,700 is less than one-tenth the cost of purchasing the package outright. INFORMATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL-DENTSU, LTD. will provide the ASP infrastructure for FirePond. It also will help with marketing. The partners hope to sign at least 10 leases in FY 2000.
KANA COMMUNICATIONS, INC. has made a big splash in the Japanese CRM market. In just one month, the leading provider of on-line customer communications solutions landed its first customer G-SEARCH LTD., a FUJITSU, LTD. subsidiary opened an office in Tokyo and signed NIHON UNISYS, LTD. as a value-added reseller. In July, G-Search will implement the Redwood City, California-based firm's Kana Response platform to manage Web-based inquiries from the 3.6 million users of @nifty, Japan's top ISP. For its part, Nihon Unisys will offer the complete Kana 5 suite, which includes modules for on-line marketing, sales and service.
The marketing arm of ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC. has previewed a localized version of the San Jose, California firm's next-generation page layout program. Scheduled to ship in the fall, Adobe InDesign will offer the most extensive support ever for Japanese text and typography. It will form the basis for Adobe's professional publishing solutions in this key market. The nonproprietary Japanese composition engine will deliver full-featured and flexible typesetting of Japanese text, a first for the local desktop publishing market. In addition, InDesign handles many media types besides text, making it suitable for use in a wide range of fields.
The slugfest in the market for voice-recognition software is entering a new round. IBM JAPAN LTD. is on the verge of introducing a Japanese version of ViaVoice Millennium for Macintosh computers. The new iteration learns to recognize a user's voice much more quickly than earlier versions. It also adapts more facilely to individual speech patterns and preferences. ..... DRAGON SYSTEMS, INC. already has launched a counterattack by releasing a localized version of its Dragon Speech Select v3.6J. The Newton, Massachusetts firm bills itself as the "natural speech" company, and its software focuses on this aspect of speech recognition. Dragon System's subsidiary is marketing the package on an OEM basis to computer makers.
The Disney Interactive unit of WALT DISNEY CO. will work with Japan's leading third-party home videogame developer, SQUARE CO., LTD., to develop gameware for SONY CORP.'s forthcoming PlayStation 2 console. The development team will be led by Square's Tetsuya Nomura, the man responsible for the firm's wildly successful Final Fantasy series. Disney and Square hope to debut their first interactive title in Japan by yearend 2001 and in North America and Europe in 2002.
In April, SOLIDWORKS CORP.'s subsidiary will roll out a version of the midrange SolidWorks 2000 3D CAD package. It will be priced at $9,000. In preparation, the Concord, Massachusetts developer lined up another distributor. MUTOH INDUSTRIES LTD. agreed to make SolidWorks 2000 the centerpiece of its marketing efforts, even though it handles AUTODESK, INC.'s AutoCAD 2000 and Mechanical Desktop as well as NIHON UNISYS , LTD.'s high-end CADCEUS CAD/CAM system. SolidWorks 2000, which runs on Windows machines, is easy for engineers and designers to learn yet offers enough power to handle most needs. Through its various distribution arrangements, SolidWorks expects to sell 3,500 copies of SolidWorks 2000 within this year.
Coincidentally, NIHON UNISYS, LTD. released the latest iteration of the Japan-only CADCEUS. The new version is a much more comprehensive program, extending its reach to the entire process of designing and making products with integrated CAM and product data management modules. Nihon Unisys is targeting as initial sales leads the 600-plus current CADCEUS users. They include TOYOTA MOTOR CORP., which has made the program the core of its overall, integrated CAD/CAM system.
With wireless Internet access all the rage in Japan, SPYGLASS INC. has lined up a second distributor for its Prism Web content transformation and delivery platform. MITSUI & CO., LTD. joins FUJITSU, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 364, January 2000, p. 30) as a reseller of the Naperville, Illinois firm's flagship product. Prism converts, optimizes and transmits Web content originally created for PCs to small- screen devices like cell phones and personal digital assistants. Mitsui will offer Prism to ISPs, content providers and communications carriers through its ASP operation. The package costs $91,700 per server processor. The trader projects Prism sales at $4.6 million a year.
An exchange rate of ¥109=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa