Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 343, April 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


SOFTWARE AND INFORMATION SERVICES

The ferment shaking up the U.S. market for Internet search services has reached Japan. YAHOO! JAPAN CORP. has announced that it will link its Internet search service with the one sponsored by NTT ADVERTISING, INC., a unit of NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. If a search fails to turn up a match in Yahoo!'s data base, the user request will be relayed automatically to NTT Advertising's engine. Results will be displayed on a jointly operated Web page. The partners hope the link will attract more users and lead to higher advertising revenues. The majority owners of publicly traded Yahoo! Japan are Sunnyvale, California YAHOO! CORP. and SOFTBANK CORP.

Trying to recapture some market share, NETSCAPE COMMUNICATIONS CORP.'s subsidiary is distributing free CD-ROM copies of its Communicator Internet browser suite as a supplement to local computer magazines. In addition, Netscape has struck agreements with 10 software companies, including the local unit of SYMANTEC CORP., to bundle Communicator with their business products. It also has initiated talks with PC makers to preinstall the browser on their machines.

AUTODESK INC.'s subsidiary is offering a family of programs to create, distribute and display map information via the Internet. The San Rafael, California firm's MapGuide Server and MapAgent — which costs $13,400 for a 20-user license up to $26,900 for an unlimited license — delivers map data to users equipped with MapGuide Viewer. The $1,800 MapGuide Author creates intelligent interactive Map Window Files. Autodesk predicts first-year sales will hit 300 units.

Big firms in search of a highly scalable, modular Internet e-mail server can turn to the Sun Internet Mail Server from SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s software division. The $2,300 package is targeted at the demanding needs of Internet service providers. .....An alternative "industrial-strength" e- mail server from SEATTLE LAB, INC., SLmail v2.5, is said to be easy to install and configure. It also is adaptable to the needs of small office/home office users as well as multinational corporations. Tokyo- based NETMARKS CO., LTD. is handling local sales of the Bothell, Washington firm's product.

To expand global sales of its Posta Internet document delivery solution, TUMBLEWEED SOFTWARE CORP. of Redwood City, California has tied up with CANON SALES CO., INC., SYNERGY INCUBATE INC. and the local unit of Taiwan-headquartered DYNALAB. Posta can deliver any type of document to any end-user securely and with full delivery tracking. Once Dynalab has completed localization, Canon Sales will offer the secure Internet document conversion and distribution system through all five of its sales divisions. Tokyo-based Synergy Incubate will provide consulting and integration services, while Dynalab will operate the local Posta data center.

Going head-to-head with Posta is Net-It Central from San Francisco's NET-IT SOFTWARE CORP. Simply by dropping files into folders and arranging the hierarchy of folders, Net-It Central automatically creates carbon-copy Web documents, updates all necessary document repositories and distributes the documents to lists of users specified by the administrator. The standard version of Net-It Central retails for $5,800, while the professional edition starts at $7,600. The package is distributed locally by DIGITAL MAGIC LAB CO., LTD. of Tokyo.

With sponsorship by MICROSOFT CORP., New York City-based EARTHWEB INC. has launched a localized version of its Web site for Internet developers. Developer.com Japan offers on-line reference texts for Java, JavaScript, ActiveX, Virtual Reality Modeling Language and Internet channel technology as well as a constantly updated pool of applets in Japanese for downloading. In exchange for helping EarthWeb port developer.com to Japanese and several European languages, Microsoft gets exclusive advertising rights on the overseas sites.

FINE.COM CORP. has teamed up with MITSUI & CO., LTD. to test the local market for its interactive-response marketing and Web site construction services. The Seattle firm's complex, data base-driven Web sites offer a new level of user involvement and sophistication to Japanese firms interested in Internet marketing.

A new service from IBM JAPAN LTD. will help Japanese Web masters evaluate and improve the effectiveness of their handiwork. Based on SurfAid — a software package that analyzes and interprets the behavior of visitors to a Web site — IBM Japan will help Web masters develop one-to- one marketing Web pages as well as generate and mine business intelligence about customers.

With only a few mouse clicks and no programming, WebBurst from POWER PRODUCTION SOFTWARE creates interactive Java applets that bring sound, animation and motion to a Web site. WebBurst exports an HTML file of Java applets for quick and easy insertion into Web pages. The Hermosa Beach, California firm has selected MARUBENI CORP. as the exclusive distributor of the applet tool.

Now available from ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. is a middleware utility that makes existing mainframe applications available to intranet and extranet users. The kanji edition of SmartTran from Campbell, California- based ENTERPRISELINK TECHNOLOGY CORP. — a start-up backed by Itochu Techno-Science, ITOCHU CORP. and an American venture fund — recognizes and interprets for Web users applications written for INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s MVS and FUJITSU, LTD.'s MSP operating systems that use any Japanese character set. SmartTran already is being used by HONDA R&D CO., LTD. to give its 5,000 employees secure intranet access to a travel and expense system, while SHARP CORP. is using it to deliver its legacy human resources applications via its network.

Beyond making legacy mainframe applications Web-savvy, IS managers wanting to integrate disparate systems and data, scale business-critical applications, manage distributed systems and boost productivity can create Net-native applications with NetDynamics 4.0. The enterprise network application development platform from NETDYNAMICS, INC. of Menlo Park, California is based entirely on open standards, including Java, JavaBeans, CORBA and DCOM. Distribution of the 4.0 version is being handled by Tokyo-based TERILOGY CO., LTD., a switch from the company in charge of earlier editions (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, p. 16).

INFORMATION RESOURCE ENGINEERING, INC., a Baltimore-based provider of virtual private network security services, has formed a strategic alliance with MITSUBISHI CORP. and new common carrier OSAKA MEDIA PORT CORP. OMP will use IRE's NetSafe software to add a VPN option to its World Computer Network Internet access service. Mitsubishi not only will help market the enhanced, secure service, but it will be OMP's first VPN subscriber. VIDEOMAIL JAPAN INC. also distributes IRE's network security utilities (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 20).

The subsidiary of Mountain View, California-based VERISIGN, INC. has launched two initiatives to keep it ahead in the competitive market for electronic-commerce security software. First, it lowered the price of issuing digital identification certificates by 10 percent to about $630 and made it easier for firms to apply for digital IDs. Second, it introduced a local version of its parent's NetSure Protection Plan, which will pay customers up to $77,500 if they suffer from a fraudulent e-commerce transaction that used Verisign's digital ID services. Of the 40,000-odd digital ID certificates issued by Verisign, 1,500 or so have gone to Japanese users.

In a natural extension of their exclusive local marketing pact (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, pp. 21-22), CYLINK CORP. of Sunnyvale, California announced that MITSUI & CO., LTD. will use its PrivateWire Internet security system to safeguard its Internet, intranet and extranet traffic. PrivateWire's advanced, public-key encryption, digital ID authority and firewalls rely on mutual certification instead of one-sided safeguards.

CYBERGUARD CORP. has plunged into the Japanese e-commerce and network security competition, opening a subsidiary in Tokyo to direct local marketing efforts. In addition, the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida firm has landed a spot in the PC NT Solutions Mall, a virtual showcase for EC software cosponsored by IBM JAPAN LTD. and MICROSOFT CORP. CyberGuard Firewall r4 for Unix comes bundled with IBM Japan's PC servers. A version for Microsoft's Windows NT operating system is expected shortly. .....CyberGuard Firewall faces stiff competition, including from the Japanese-language version of SessionWall-3 v2.1 from ABIRNET, LTD. The latest update of the Dallas firm's Internet/intranet firewall — marketed for $3,900 to double that amount by FORVAL CREATIVE, INC. — provides greater defenses against Web pages and e-mail messages that might corrupt or damage the receiving system.

As part of its campaign to promote network computers, the subsidiary of ORACLE CORP. is shipping a localized operating system for NCs developed by its parent's wholly owned NETWORK COMPUTER, INC. unit. Oracle NCOS is a scalable, robust operating system for standard INTEL CORP. hardware. It is priced from $390 to $540. Orders for Oracle NCOS already have been received from FUJITSU, LTD., NEC CORP. and NTT DATA CORP. Oracle's subsidiary also has released NC Administration Server 1.4 for SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris operating system, with editions for other versions of Unix as well as Windows NT on the way. This package provides all the software corporations need to deploy NCs.

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A Japanese-language version of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Windows CE 2.0 has been released. The company is aiming the operating system not only at the market for handheld computers but also at automotive, appliance and communications applications. To that end, Microsoft's subsidiary has organized a 10-person team to promote Windows CE 2.0. So far, five computer makers — CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD., HITACHI, LTD., NEC CORP. and the subsidiaries of COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. — have become OEM customers for the localized version of Windows CE 2.0. .....Separately, MICROSOFT CORP. signed a deal with the Microtec division of MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP. that makes it a one-stop source for Windows CE software and support in the United States as well as in Japan. Microtec has ported its industry-standard XRAY Debugger to Windows CE and optimized its C, C++ and Java compilers for the OS. Licenses for the Microtec Toolkit for Windows CE were to be available in April for roughly $4,600.

By the end of the summer, ORACLE CORP.'s affiliate expects to be marketing a version of the Oracle Lite 3.0 relational data base for Windows CE. Besides traditional RDB applications, the company thinks that the package could be used to boost the functionality of point-of-sale systems. Pricing will start at $300 for a single-user license.

Helping MIS staff bridge the gap between Unix and Windows NT systems, OPENNT r2.1 from SOFTWAY SYSTEMS, INC. of San Francisco adds 25 new commands and utilities to its Unix-on-NT shell to ease networking and interconnection issues. OPENNT brings more commonality to managing mixed Unix and Windows NT configurations, plus it eases the porting of Unix applications to Windows NT. Distributor SUMISHO ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. expects a ready market among large firms for the $295 program.

MIS staff also have access to a new toolbox for bringing older applications up to date and developing new client applications. UNISYS CORP.'s PowerClient lets programmers update older screen-based applications by adding a graphical-user interface and Windows compatibility. The basic $1,800 package can be enhanced by adding a distribution/management module priced at $240 or a Web Agent module that costs $9,700. PowerClient also works with third-party client builder tools, including PowerBuilder and Visual Basic.

The Japanese arms of METROWERKS, INC. of Austin, Texas and APPLIED MICROSYSTEMS CORP. of Redmond, Washington are working together to promote their software debug and test tools for embedded systems. By melding their individual products together, the two hope to present a more complete software development environment. Metrowerks' CodeWarrior software authoring package is widely used for desktop applications (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 25), but it should be more attractive to programmers in the embedded market with the addition of Applied Microsystems' CodeTAP and PowerTAP hardware/software emulators for the embedded versions of MOTOROLA INC.'s PowerPC processors.

Through its newly established subsidiary, EMBEDDED SUPPORT TOOLS CORP. of Canton, Massachusetts is offering a competing family of test and debug tools. Using the Background Debug Mode built into every MOTOROLA INC. processor, EST's hardware and software emulators cover the full range of 683xx, PowerPC 8xx and ColdFire 520x embedded processors. They also offer easy integration with other programs. The tools are priced from $5,400 to $15,500 for a complete system.

A new package from INSTALL SHIELD SOFTWARE CORP. of Schaumberg, Illinois helps authors of applications for Windows PCs develop automatic software installers. InstallShield 5.1 Professional Edition uses Visual Basic to develop complete installations in a few easy steps, yet it is powerful enough to handle automatic customization with third-party software components. Tokyo-based NETSERVE INC. is handling distribution of the $1,400 utility. It expects to ring up sales of 5,000 packages the first year.

One of the competitors in the red-hot market for Year 2000 conversion software, REASONING, INC. of Mountain View, California, has formed a subsidiary to promote its Reasoning/2000 Transformation Service to computer makers and software houses. Based on the Reasoning Transformation Software Architecture, the company can update COBOL, PL/I, NATURAL, C, FORTRAN and ADA programs. .....Meanwhile, "old-timer" COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. announced that its CA- Fix/2000 has been chosen by ISUZU MOTORS LTD. to hack its legacy COBOL code into shape for the new millennium. The truck builder chose CA's Y2K solution after successful trials at its American subsidiary.

MANGOSOFT CORP. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. are offering the SOHO market easy entrée into the world of networking and the Internet. Using the Westborough, Massachusetts firm's Mango98 Internet-savvy networking software as the core, NTT will provide all the needed hardware, software and integration services to give small businesses an internal network with gateways to the Internet. The alliance was made possible with the help of MangoSoft's distributor, SVA JAPAN CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 20). Mango98 is marketed as Medley outside Japan.

A similar network software service is being offered by IBM JAPAN LTD. Based on the Netfinity family of network servers and Lotus Domino software, the Quick Solution service offers SOHO customers turnkey answers to their networking and Internet access needs.

Not to be outdone, the subsidiary of network operating system powerhouse NOVELL INC. has released an improved, localized version of the NetWare package. Version 3.2J not only works better with third-party software but addresses Y2K problems with earlier versions of the NetWare network operating system.

Austin, Texas-based PERVASIVE SOFTWARE INC. is working with MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. and the subsidiary of Santa Clara, California- based INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. on a project to boost office network efficiency. MELCO's Toward Seamless service integrates servers, PC clients, office equipment, remote terminals and other remote devices more tightly to eliminate network inefficiencies and overlap.

In a similar vein, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s HP OpenView ManageX 3.0 gives managers of Windows NT-based networks advanced management functions previously available only to Unix systems. Not only does the network management software optimize use of network resources, but it greatly enhances network availability and stability. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. expects to sell a combined annual total of 10,000 copies of the $3,900 base package and the $2,200 additional server module. Only the English-language version of HP OpenView ManageX 3.0, which the company acquired from NUVIEW INC. last November, is available now, but a localized version will be released in July.

Software from ORACLE CORP. now is available to handle connections at the remote device end of the client/server equation. Oracle Mobile Agents is an asynchronous, secure, store-and-forward messaging system for mobile devices. Besides being based on open standards and supporting a wide variety of wireless network standards, the product handles poor or intermittent connections by creating a software agent on the server to act as a proxy for the remote user. Users thus need to be connected only to send requests and receive answers; they need not run up expensive connect charges waiting for the server to process their requests. Pricing of a standard Oracle Mobile Agents package starts at $200.

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Several new packages have come on the market to manage the client side of the client/server relationship. LANDesk Client Manager from INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary, which is bundled with PCs from IBM JAPAN LTD. and other local manufacturers, monitors both hardware and software on client computers. It also conducts diagnostic routines, alerts administrators to problems and provides on-line help for hundreds of hardware and thousands of software problems. .....Bellevue, Washington-based ATTACHMATE CORP.'s NetWizard combines software distribution, software and hardware inventory, software metering and licensing, remote software control, software policy management, execution and configuration into a single package. NetWizard will be the main tool used by a new client management service offered by YOKOGAWA DIGITAL COMPUTER CO., LTD. That company expects to sell 40,000 copies of NetWizard this year for revenues of $6.2 million.

Updating the antivirus data files of client PCs is a snap with the Me!SiteExpress package from NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. The Santa Clara, California firm has created automatic links between its popular VirusScan package and its SiteExpress software distribution engine, focusing on enterprise-wide distribution of the latest data on computer viruses. Me!SiteExpress starts around $525 for a 10-user license.

Separately, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. will sell its CyberCop network- access security system through trader TOYO TECHNICA CO., LTD. CyberCop monitors network-access activity round the clock, providing undetectable, real-time alerts of unauthorized traffic. It then determines which network elements are under attack and captures evidence of the intrusion. A basic CyberCop installation costs $20,100, while a version with more powerful management, analysis and reporting features starts at $27,900. Toyo Technica is gearing up to sell and support (one year of support is included with the basic package) six deluxe installations a year.

Even though it changed its name to PERVASIVE SOFTWARE INC., the Austin, Texas firm has held on to its roots by continuing to improve and sell its former namesake product, the Btrieve relational transactional data base. Version 7.0J is a fully localized data base engine that Pervasive Software thinks can be embedded in finance, accounting, marketing, human resources and management analysis programs written specifically for Japan's market.

Combining Internet/intranet technologies and the Java programming language, SYMANTEC CORP.'s $680 dbAnywhere advances the state of the art in network relational data bases. Instead of needing special client software, dbAnywhere's features can be tapped by anyone with any Java- enabled Web browser. All processing is done on the client side via downloaded Java applets. Connectivity out-of-the-box is provided for MICROSOFT CORP., ORACLE CORP. and SYBASE, INC. SQL servers, among others.

New products keep entering the market for data warehousing and data mining software. For $10,100, users who want their data to add directly to the bottom line can buy BROADBASE INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.'s Broadbase v1.2 datamart server. Fully localized, the Menlo Park, California firm's flagship product is a turnkey system that combines data transformation, on-line analytical processing tools, data mining and administration tools in one package for Windows NT servers. BIS has just added a fifth company, COMPUTER ENGINEERING & CONSULTING LTD., to its list of distributors. They are: BEACON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INC., OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD., TEIJIN SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY LTD. and the subsidiary of DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP. BIS hopes to line up additional sales channels in the near future.

Data warehouse pioneer PRISM SOLUTIONS, INC. of Sunnyvale, California has brought its complete line of enterprise-class products to Japan through a partnership with HITACHI, LTD. By the third quarter of this year, Hitachi will adapt Prism's products for local users and add support for Hitachi operating systems and data management systems. The electronics giant will target installations using its own mainframes as well as Unix and Windows NT shops.

To keep pace with the new competition, RED BRICK SYSTEMS, INC. signed up a fifth distributor for its Red Brick Warehouse package (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 330, March 1997, p. 17). The SHARP CORP. affiliate adds its systems integration know-how to the agreement. It is aiming to line up more than 100 data warehouse customers this year. The Los Gatos, California company's product handles a wide range of legacy data and hardware platforms.

Leading the likely wave of deals generated by Japan's financial market Big Bang, TRIPLE POINT TECHNOLOGY, INC. licensed its financial futures trading software to MARUBENI CORP. TEMPEST 2000 and PHYSICAL Booster will be deployed at the trader's Tokyo and Singapore offices as a front-to- back office trading system for the physical and derivative energy commodity markets. The Westport, Connecticut company's PHYSICAL Booster add-on provides in-depth coverage of physical oil trading operations, including blending, processing, inventory forecasting and tank inventory management.

SIEBEL SYSTEMS, INC. continues to expand the market for its sales force automation software by tying up with MITSUBISHI CORP. The two will promote Siebel Sales Enterprise, which ties together a company's support, marketing, sales, manufacturing and research departments more tightly via the Internet to field representatives equipped with handheld PCs.

The Series 6 enterprise-wide customer management suite from DENDRITE INTERNATIONAL, INC. of Morristown, New Jersey came out on top of a competition held by TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. to select its sales force automation software. The electronic territory management package's modules can absorb huge amounts of customer data, analyze it and make it available to all levels of the company as well as staff in the field. Series 6 is used by many of Takeda's domestic and international competitors, including KISSEI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. and SANKYO/PARKE-DAVIS CO.

NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS and OMRON CORP. have tied up to integrate the Menlo Park, California company's sophisticated speech-recognition system into automated call centers, making them more customer-friendly and less costly. The Nuance 6.1 conversational speech-recognition engine — set to debut in the second quarter of this year — will be the core of Kyoto- based Omron's software solutions that can handle Japanese, English (both American and British) and Spanish.

Through its subsidiary, Pleasanton, California-headquartered PEOPLESOFT, INC. will roll out a new version of its enterprise resource planning suite this June (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 333, June 1997, p. 17). Besides being fully localized, PeopleSoft 7.5/Japanese version will offer strengthened supply chain management functions as well as handling developments that affect the management of a global enterprise, such as the impending European Monetary Union. Following up on the opening of a subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 338, November 1997, p. 21), PARAGON MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS has debuted a Japanese version of its Paragon Applications supply chain management software. The SCM suite is tuned for global manufacturers, helping improve customer responsiveness, lower inventory costs and trim production costs. The Los Angeles firm plans to add Chinese- and Korean- language versions, meaning that Japanese companies with operations in these countries could standardize around Paragon Applications. .....A competing SCM option from Irving, Texas-based I2 TECHNOLOGIES now is available through ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary. i2's RHYTHM family provides comprehensive, intelligent support for planning and scheduling functions for both intra-enterprise and inter-enterprise supply chains. The two companies will cooperate on integrating RHYTHM with Oracle's line of data base and ERP products.

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Before SCM, there was (and still is) electronic data interchange. GE INFORMATION SERVICES, INC. and KOKUSAI DENSHIN DENWA CO., LTD., Japan's top international telecommunications carrier, have teamed up to offer an EDI service in step with the Internet Age. The Rockville, Maryland company's GE Network already allows users in 110 countries to exchange data, make transactions, place orders and settle accounts, but the partners will use KDD's frame-relay TCP/IP service to make GE Network accessible by anyone with an Internet connection. KDD plans to charge users a basic start-up fee, $77.50 a month for an electronic mailbox, and 23 cents for every kilobite of data transmitted over the network.

POMS CORP. (formerly INCODE Corp.) of Herndon, Virginia has landed a major new customer for its manufacturing execution system, POMS MES. At a cost of more than $1 million, HOECHST MARION ROUSSEL INC.'s Japan unit will integrate POMS MES with SAP R/3 at its solid-dose manufacturing plant, bringing the facility's software up to par with HMR's North American operations. POMS MES not only controls and manages plant-floor processes but works seamlessly with other enterprise applications, such as ERPs.

Manufacturers that want state-of-the-art industrial controls with low- cost Windows NT machines have two new options. RADISYS CORP.'s INtime package has been chosen by the electronics division of KOMATSU LTD. as the core of a new generation of deterministic, real-time factory automation systems. Komatsu was attracted to several features of the Hillsboro, Oregon company's product: protected architecture, extensive user-level development tools and strong debugging capabilities. .....The second option comes from OBJECTAUTOMATION of Santa Ana, California. OAenterprise, which is based on open standards, brings the ease of object- oriented programming to the field. It integrates (OAframework) state-of- the-art process visualization (OA2view), control (OA2control), alarm (OA2alarms) and history (OA2history) tools. From its new offices in Tokyo, Taiwan and Singapore, ObjectAutomation hopes to make OAenterprise the standard for the latest generation of factory automation around the Pacific Rim.

Continuing to update its wide range of products, MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary rolled out a new version of its desktop publishing program, Publisher 98. With an expected street price of $115, Publisher 98 not only lets amateurs create professional-looking newsletters, flyers, brochures and business cards, but it creates Web pages as well.

A new version of its industry-standard digital image manipulation package is available from ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. Priced at $99, Photo Deluxe 2.0J simplifies the creation of many complex image effects besides offering a host of new tools. The Mountain View, California company expects to sell 1 million copies of Photo Deluxe a year in Japan.

In the wake of the national craze for virtual pocket pets, PF.MAGIC, INC. of San Francisco has forged a strategic partnership with PC game and magazine publisher ASCII CORP. to bring its virtual Petz, Dogz and Catz for desktop machines to the local market. ASCII has localized Virtual Petz. It hopes their artificial intelligence and three-dimensional graphics will appeal to Japan's finicky consumers.

To handle the new, more efficient hard disk format available from APPLE COMPUTER INC.'s latest Mac OS 8.1 operating system, SYMANTEC CORP. has updated its best-selling Norton Utilities for Macintosh. Version 3.5.3J, priced around $175, now can inspect and repair hard disk problems in both old and new formats besides performing its tasks more quickly.

Since the threat from computer viruses is changing constantly, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. continues to update its popular VirusScan product. VirusScan for Windows 95/98 will be available in May from the Santa Clara, California firm's subsidiary. It offers faster scanning and more flexible responses to suspected problems.

A new version of MicroStation Modeler is available from Exton, Pennsylvania-based BENTLEY SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The 5.5.4J update, like its predecessor (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 22), is fully localized but offers a much broader library of 3D functions and greater connectivity with other programs and the Internet. Despite these improvements, Bentley has cut the price by 21 percent to $5,800. Given all the features available for this price, the company forecasts MicroStation Modeler sales at 500 units in 1998.

TRANSOM TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has won a contract to supply TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. with its Transom Jack human-centric visual simulation software. Japan's top automotive maker chose the Ann Arbor, Michigan firm to supply and install the human-modeling software after exhaustive benchmarking of competing products. It will use Transom Jack to evaluate the ergonomics of its car and truck interior designs. Mountain View, California-based DUCTUS, INC. has licensed a Verilog HDL (hardware description language) version of its ClearView anti-aliasing rasterization technology to MATSUSHITA ELECTRONICS CORP. MEC will incorporate Ductus' patented know-how to improve the visual quality of graphics and text generated by its planned line of low-cost, two- dimensional image processors. It is aiming the chips at PC graphics cards, Java devices and consumer electronics products — any application where a low-cost, high-quality graphical-user interface is needed.

SYNOPSYS, INC. is selling a melded tool for verifying million-gate-plus IC designs. The Mountain View, California EDA firm has taken its Cyclone cycle-based simulator, which lists for $65,900, and integrated it with the $65,300 Eagle hardware/software coverification tool developed by the former Viewlogic Systems, Inc., which now is part of Synopsys. The melded product can handle designs that are too large for event-based VHDL simulators.

The new Asia division of VERISITY DESIGN, INC., also based in Mountain View, California, has moved quickly to bolster sales of its Specman high- level verification automation solution, appointing CYBERTEC as its exclusive representative. Specman is a specification-based verification system that automates tasks traditionally done by hand, such as creating functional tests, checking test results and measuring verification progress against a functional-test plan.

A localized version of XILINX, INC.'s Alliance Series 1.4 software for designers of field-programmable gate arrays is available through the San Jose, California company's subsidiary. The program is said to deliver up to 85 percent faster compile times and a 25 percent boost in clock-speed performance for programmable logic devices. It supports the industry's highest-density FPGA, the Xilinx XC40125XV with as many as 250,000 system gates. Pricing of Alliance Series 1.4J starts at $480 for PCs and goes up to $5,800 for high-end workstations. Xilinx is the world's top maker of FPGAs.

Expecting a business boom from telecommunications market deregulation in Japan, APEX VOICE COMMUNICATIONS has rolled out a Japanese version of its OmniVox for Windows NT computer telephony and call-processing application development, run-time and management environment. Not only does OmniVox for Windows NT/Japan handle all Japanese character sets, but it properly states money amounts in "yen" and "cen" and gives dates according to either of two Japanese conventions (year/month/day or year of an imperial reign). OmniVox was localized with the help of ACCURA CORP., the Sherman Oaks, California company's value-added distributor.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.
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