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

No. 344, May 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


SOFTWARE AND INFORMATION SERVICES

YAHOO! INC. has joined DENTSU INC. and SHARP CORP. in backing CYBERMAP JAPAN CORP., a digital topographic information search service founded by TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD. and NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. Cybermap searches for companies or stores, then displays their location on an interactive Web map. Yahoo!'s 11.1 percent stake in Cybermap makes it a junior partner to Toppan Printing (51.1 percent), NTT (17.8 percent) and Dentsu (13.3 percent) but ahead of Sharp (6.7 percent).

Following the successful beta test of a Japanese version of its Internet search service, LYCOS, INC. has teamed with SUMITOMO CORP. and INTERNET INITIATIVE JAPAN INC. to build a full-scale, localized Internet portal. The trio also formed a joint venture in which the Waltham, Massachusetts firm has a 40 percent stake versus a 50 percent share for the trader and a 10 percent interest for Japan's top Internet service provider. The Lycos Japan site offers Internet search and navigation tools as well as feeds from news, sports, financial and other information services. Through advertising on the site and commissions, the new operation, which expects to have a staff of 30 by the end of 1998, hopes to have revenues of $3 million in the first year and $30.3 million in FY 2000.

Tokyo-based CORPORATE SOFTWARE LTD. K.K., a company formed at the end of 1994 by STREAM INTERNATIONAL INC. (40 percent) and FUJITSU, LTD. (60 percent) to provide telephone technical support, is bringing the Canton, Massachusetts partner's Mail Manager to Japan. This system lets companies respond automatically via electronic mail to technical support questions, tailoring answers to specific users, programs and the questions asked. Corporate Software will localize Mail Manager with common Japanese software products in mind. Stream International offers technical support via the Internet from its headquarters and eight call centers in the United States and Europe.

In an adaptation to the Internet Age, UNITED PARCEL SERVICE OF AMERICA INC. has begun offering an electronic document delivery service in Japan through its Web site. Not only are electronic documents double-encoded for security, but senders receive a confirmation when the electronic goods are delivered. UPS launched the service in the United States in March. .....Targeting a slightly different customer, E-PARCEL, LLC and TOYOTA TSUSHO CORP. have launched a secure Internet-based electronic data delivery service designed especially for large file transfers. Using the Newton, Massachusetts firm's e-Parcel Digital Delivery Service as a model, the two plan to charge as little as $2.25 to deliver 10 megabytes of data and $29.50 to send a 650-MB chunk of information. Trader Toyota Tsusho expects the new service to generate revenues of $3.4 million in the first year and $7.6 million within three years. e-Parcel is affiliated with MITSUBISHI ELECTRONIC AMERICA, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 18).

Presaging much wider use of the Internet, SPYGLASS INC. of Naperville, Illinois has rolled out a localized version of its Spyglass Device Mosaic embedded Web browser. With its small memory footprint (just 400 kilobytes), full support for basic Internet standards and its extendibility to include Java and Secure Socket Layer, distributor INTERCOM CO., LTD. is targeting Device Mosaic 3.0/J at a wide range of non-PC applications. .....A showcase for such an application is NEC CORP.'s choice of SPYGLASS INC.'s Spyglass Device Mosaic 3.0/J as the kernel for its new line of NETJACS industrial network computers. NETJACS is a new generation of factory- floor control panels that will use the embedded browser to display real- time manufacturing information to workers, replacing higher-cost, proprietary factory automation solutions.

LIVE PICTURE CORP.'s subsidiary is demonstrating that a picture is worth a thousand words. The San Francisco firm's Reality Studio immersive Web site construction kit lets Web surfers zoom into Web site images, explore all sides of virtual rooms, and "pick up" and rotate virtual objects and images. The $970 package includes PhotoVista for creating 360° images, Object Modeler to build 3D objects and movies, Image Server to deliver and manipulate high-resolution images quickly, Viewer to download and display Reality Studio content, and plug-ins for ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC.'s Photoshop. Live Picture's local unit also is selling for $740 the Image Server program. Its server-side rendering speeds up the delivery and the interactivity of high-resolution images, providing a "being there" experience. Target customers include on-line catalog, real estate and travel businesses as well as galleries and museums.

Making it possible for small businesses to create, deploy and manage an intranet out-of-the-box is the goal of Domino Intranet Starter Pack 2.0 from LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary. The $1,300 kit includes Domino server software, Lotus Notes 4.6 client, a choice of Web browsers, e-mail, fax server, group scheduling and calendaring, plus 12 ready-to-run business applications. Midsized companies are the main marketing focus.

North Carolina's HART SOFTWARE INC. has agreed to let a subsidiary of HITACHI, LTD. handle marketing of its HartSite intranet construction suite. HartSite 3.1, which starts at $10,600, combines three separate products: a Web page development tool, a server application development environment and an intranet server package. The Hitachi unit expects to release a localized version of HartSite 3.1 for Windows this summer and plans a Unix release in the fall.

A new electronic commerce suite from ORACLE CORP. is available through INTRANET SYSTEMS, INC. and CSK CORP. With Oracle Internet Commerce Server Release 1.1, virtual storefronts can be created easily that offer sophisticated promotions and personalized pages as well as easy integration with existing data and business systems to handle order entry, inventory, payment, taxes and shipping. Oracle Payment Server 1.0 adds secure electronic payment functions to new or existing Web-based applications. The server comes bundled with third-party packages to handle credit-card verification and authentication.

To buttress sales of its GENTRAN:Server electronic commerce/electronic data interchange package, the local unit of STERLING COMMERCE will open a software support center in Osaka and seek additional value-added reseller partners. The Dallas firm now is working with KAWATETSU SYSTEMS CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 337, October 1997, p. 19).

Hoping to capitalize on the increasingly sophisticated needs of Japanese customers, ADVANCED COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS INC. is offering communications network service providers its $7,600 Virtual Port Service Manager. These operators can easily partition and lease their networks using VPSM, allowing Internet service providers to set up virtual private networks and other Internet services. The Tokyo operation of NEWBRIDGE NETWORKS LTD. is handling local sales of the Santa Barbara, California firm's product.

SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary has localized the JavaBeans assembly environment, Java Studio, to help the language penetrate the corporate software market. Java Studio, which costs about $125 for a single-user license, comes with a basic library of JavaBeans for creating multimedia, information access and information visualization applications within an intuitive graphical user interface. .....A similar product from the local operation of LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP., eSuite DevPack, lets IT managers quickly deliver and deploy strategic applications on their intranets. eSuite DevPack's prebuilt, pretested, cross-platform applets can be "snapped" together into applications. The 100% Pure Java programs are easily modified to meet changing or growing needs. A single-server eSuite DevPack license costs $1,900.

Meanwhile, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Java will be the programming language of choice for SONY CORP.'s next generation of digital audio- visual equipment. Sony initially will embed PersonalJava into its digital cable television equipment to make the products Web-savvy. Future uses include "smart" televisions and other home electronics devices.

Continuing a decade of successful ties, PHOENIX TECHNOLOGIES LTD. has renewed its technology licensing pact with MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. The San Jose, California firm is a leading supplier of basic operating and applications software for IBM-compatible PCs. Under the new agreement, MEI has access to Phoenix Technologies' line of mobile computing software, including NoteBIOS, ACPI, PowerPanel, NoteDock, Pen, MultiKey, CardManager and Card Executive 2.0 for NT. It will embed the software in its full line of notebook, business and home computer products.

California's XSCALE INC. and LTECH CO., LTD. of Yokohama have formed a 52 percent/48 percent joint venture to provide PC software/hardware compatibility testing. With an initial staff of 10 and the American firm's know-how, the new operation hopes to generate revenues of $1.5 million its first year and $7.6 million over three years.

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Oak Brook, Illinois-based SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS, INC. has licensed MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. to port its C/C++ software debugger, SingleStep, to MEC's M32R microprocessor family. The open development and real-time debugger works closely with third-party compilers to speed up the software writing process.

Japanese programmers in Java, Visual C++ and Visual Basic will appreciate COMPUWARE CORP.'s TrueTime automatic performance and analysis tool. Developed by what now is the Farmington Hills, Michigan firm's NuMega Lab (formerly NuMega Technologies, Inc. of Nashua, New Hampshire), TrueTime locates performance bottlenecks in code, third- party components, just-in-time compiled code, operating systems or virtual machines. NICHIMEN DATA SYSTEMS CORP. is handling local sales duties for TrueTime, with versions ranging in prices from $970 to $2,200.

Together with its subsidiary, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. is working with MITSUI & CO., LTD. to promote the OpenView series of network management solutions. HP hopes to leverage the trader's sales network for Windows NT products. Mitsui will set up an OpenView Center in July staffed by 20 people, including six from HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. It also will market OpenView directly to major corporate accounts while providing technical and marketing support for the product to its distributors.

Software from LEVEL 8 SYSTEMS, INC. of New York City extends the functionality of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Message Queue Server to non-Windows platforms. FalconMQ includes client software, application programming interfaces for Unix, AS/400, Digital VMS, CICS/MVS and UNISYS CORP.'s ClearPath HMP operating systems as well as FalconMQ Bridge software, which allows MSMQ to trade messages with platforms running INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s MQSeries software. Marketing partner MI-TSUI & CO., LTD. is in charge of localization.

Delivering video over a corporate network or intranet is a simple matter with CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s Cisco IP/TV software. The package includes live and prerecorded broadcast and streaming features as well as program scheduling, schedule distribution and client viewer modules. Cisco's subsidiary has priced a five-client license at $3,500.

On the market from IBM JAPAN LTD. is a new version of its PC-remote control software, Desktop On Call. Priced around $75, the product embraces the Java language as well as its OS/2 Warp roots. Network mangers can use Desktop On Call to download files and upload, install and configure software to remote PCs from any Internet/intranet connection.

Companies needing fail-safe servers can use VINCA CORP.'s Co- StandbyServer for NT to provide server mirroring. The program allows clustered servers to be fully active but provide fail-over security for each other. It also provides clustering in a primary or a secondary server architecture. LANCEPT K.K., which has distributed the Orem, Utah firm's StandbyServer 2.0 for nearly two years, will handle localization and marketing of Co-StandbyServer.

SECURE COMPUTING CORP. of San Jose, California has added MITSUI & CO., LTD. as a distributor of its family of network security products, including SafeWord, BorderWare, SideWinder, SmartFilter and Secure Computing FireWall for NT/Japanese version. The trader expects to sell in the first year $7.6 million worth of Secure Computing software, which costs as much as $15,500 for an unlimited FireWall license. .....Separately, MITSUI & CO., LTD. is targeting first-year sales of 500 copies each of two additional SECURE COMPUTING CORP. network security products. SecureZone starts at $9,200 for a 50-client license, while a five-server license for SecureWire costs $17,500.

A competing product, CiscoSecure access control server 2.2 for Unix, is available from CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The network security package, which is priced between $3,800 and $9,400, uses a central data base of user and group profiles to conduct authentication, authorization and accounting functions for very large numbers of users.

MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary has rolled out a localized version of the latest SNA Server package. Version 4.0 ties together Internet, intranet and client-server technologies for AS/400 and mainframe systems. In addition to the usual gateway tasks of linking legacy minicomputer/mainframe resources to client-server networks, the SNA Server 4.0 leverages existing appli-cations with the most current object-oriented technologies. The street price is estimated at $2,000 for a five-client license.

To combat MICROSOFT CORP.'s BackOffice suite, IBM JAPAN LTD. has issued First Step Kit Plus for Lotus Domino. Besides Domino Server and Notes groupware, the $2,700 package includes INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s DB2 Universal Database Workgroup Edition v5.0 and other applications for Windows NT servers.

Another option in this market segment, ORACLE CORP.'s Oracle8 Workgroup Server r8.0.3, emphasizes its data base heritage. Beginning at $1,700 for a five-user license, the workgroup package provides powerful tools to tap legacy data bases and develop group-oriented business solutions.

Also going up against the MICROSOFT CORP. juggernaut is the team of LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary and JUSTSYSTEM CORP. The two will develop and market a search engine that links all information contained in Lotus' products. Justsystem's Ichitaro word processor is locked in a struggle with Microsoft's Word, just as Lotus faces a challenge from Microsoft's Windows NT family of products.

With the growing popularity of SAP AG's R/3 enterprise resource planning package, OBERON SOFTWARE, INC. of Cambridge, Massachusetts expects a ready market for its Prospero Enterprise Edition 2.0 application integration package. The totally new version of Prospero provides tools to turn existing business applications and new ones, like R/3, into "building blocks" that can be rearranged and combined into enterprise-level solutions. Oberon Software's sales agent and parent, TOYO INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD., helped localize the first version of Prospero, which went on sale in January 1997, and will provide similar support for the new release.

Targeting companies that rely on stable data bases to support large transaction volumes and data warehousing needs, ORACLE CORP.'s Oracle8 Enterprise Edition 8.0.4 provides a solid base for serving highly distributed and dynamic Web applications to users. Oracle's subsidiary has priced the Windows NT version at $12,100 and up and the Unix edition from $24,200.

For firms needing to link a wide range of data types, including Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange, there is the DataDirect OLE DB technology from INTERSOLV, INC. of Rockville, Maryland. RIKEI CORP. will add the data base middleware to its software product line, including Connect ODBC Drivers, SequelLink, Connect OLE DB and DataDirect Reflector. Rikei expects the standards-based, distributed data base products to appeal to a wide range of customers.

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PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORP.'s new Windchill family of enterprise product information management modules, scheduled for a June release in Japan, combines a unified approach to information management with a Web-centric architecture. Windchill Foundation provides a framework to handle a variety of corporate information management problems. Windchill Document Manager handles vaulting, workflow and life-cycle management tasks. Windchill Configuration Manager addresses product structures, alternate views and change management. And Windchill Information Modeler develops conceptual views of a company's information infrastructure.

To expand its presence both locally and elsewhere, San Jose, California- based CLARIFY INC. has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with NEC CORP. Not only will they jointly distribute products in Japan and overseas, but the two will work to integrate their software offerings and provide comprehensive systems integration for enterprise solutions. NEC will contribute its Star Office groupware and its J Topic information search engine, while Clarify brings its call-center software expertise to the effort.

Through its subsidiary, ORACLE CORP. has fine-tuned its enterprise resource planning package, Oracle ApplicationR10, for the local market. The ERP package, which starts at $172,300 for a 20-use license, includes accounting, production management, supply-chain management and human resources modules. All of them are accessible to clients through any Java- compliant browser. Versions for Windows NT, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris and INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s RS/6000 AIX are available immediately.

Eager to meet the expected boom in demand for medical services as Japan's population ages, HEALTH DATA SCIENCES CORP. has signed up a SUMITOMO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, LTD. affiliate to distribute its HDA UltiCare health-care information system. The unit of Atlanta-based MEDAPHIS CORP. is touting UltiCare as an ideal way for medical caregivers to optimize delivery of services because it gives users direct access to real-time, integrated patient information.

With 30-plus local installations of its One World ERP package, J.D. EDWARDS & CO.'s subsidiary is hoping to expand its market share by setting up a customer service center with DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s local operation. The new organization will support installation of One World on DEC's Alpha servers. The two expect the move to add $15.2 million to $18.9 million to One World sales this year and $60.6 million over the next three. The Japanese-language version of One World was released in August 1997. .....Similarly, ERP provider BAAN CO. of Menlo Park, California opened a service center in Tokyo to encourage use of its package by Japan's automotive industry. The Automotive Solutions Center is Baan's fourth specialty support center in Asia; the three others are based in Hong Kong and target the electronics/electric, defense and heavy industry sectors.

Following up on the August 1997 sale of its Fac-toryCAD manufacturing plant layout and design software to DAIFUKU CO., LTD. of Osaka, ENGINEERING ANIMATION, INC. announced a contract with the Japanese manufacturer to develop smart object models tailored to Daifuku's integrated materials-handling equipment. The Ames, Iowa company will create an object model library of Daifuku equipment, letting Daifuku engineers focus their time on designing plant processes rather than making equipment illustrations.

To stay ahead of the competition, CNC SOFTWARE, INC. of Tolland, Connecticut has beefed up its best-selling Mastercam computer-aided design and manufacturing package by adding features not usually seen on PC-based CAD/CAM systems. Mastercam v7 includes several multisurface machining techniques, such as pencil tracing, remaining stock removal and steep/shallow scallop removal. It also has advanced 2D machining functions and can associate toolpath and object geometry, making pocketing, contouring and drilling operations more flexible and efficient. Mastercam is available locally through GENETEC CORP. of Tokyo and JBM CORP. of Osaka.

TRIMBLE NAVIGATION LTD. of Sunnyvale, California and JEK CO., LTD. have codeveloped an automatic surveying system utilizing Global Positioning System technology. A complete kit, which costs $79,500, includes four Trimble GPS transceivers, a PC and data-gathering and analysis software. It cuts surveying times to a fraction of the usual. Osaka-based JEK, which is in the survey and civil engineering business, sells Trimble's GPS systems on an OEM basis.

Japanese executives can spice up their presentations with ERDAS, INC.'s MapSheets mapping and geographic data program. Running under Windows 95/NT and DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s NT/Alpha operating systems, MapSheets offers more than a gigabyte of geographic and demographic data to easily create informative maps. The Atlanta firm's software is compatible with MICROSOFT CORP.'s Office and other OLE-compliant programs. Distribution of the $1,100 package is being handled by Tokyo- based PASCO CORP.

Voice-recognition software developed by CONVERSE TECHNOLOGY INC. of New York City and Yokohama-based ANIMO LTD. will be distributed by the Japanese firm's parent, FUJITSU, LTD. The $3,600 VoiceSync, which runs on Windows 95/NT machines, is 95 percent accurate after listening to a speaker for only 10 seconds and 99 percent accurate after 10 minutes. Fujitsu expects the booming electronic commerce market to generate sales of 2,000 units the first year and 100,000 units over three years.

To help loyal Macintosh owners survive in a Wintel world, CONNECTIX CORP. of San Mateo, California has brought out a localized version of its PC emulator software, Virtual PC 2.0. The latest release provides faster performance. It also handles programs written for Windows 3.x/95/NT, DOS and OS/2. SYSTEMSOFT CORP. and MEDIA VISION INC. are distributing the $300 or so utility.

A CAD package for the housing industry is available from the local arm of UNISYS CORP. Digid embodies Japanese housing codes and costs as little as $1,500 for a 2D system or as much as $9,100 for a suite that creates blueprints, calculates cost estimates and manages the construction process. Unisys is aiming for sales of 1,000 copies the first year and 10,000 over four.

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To take full advantage of the Actua 2100 3D printer for CAD networks, 3D SYSTEMS CORP. has issued an update of its Allegro printer driver. Version 2.0 of the utility improves the printer's resolution by 300 percent and smooths its reproduction of downfacing surfaces by 50 percent. Moreover, the new driver cuts the time from CAD design to 3D model by 20 percent. INCS INC. of Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture is the Valencia, California firm's distributor.

VERTEL CORP. has signed up NIHON SOGO RESEARCH CO., LTD. to distribute its telecommunications management solutions. The Tokyo firm expects the ongoing deregulation of the communications market to boost sales of the Woodland, California company's products, which include modules for communications infrastructure management, network management and switching software.

To meet strong demand for its open standards-based server and microbrowser software for wireless communications, UNWIRED PLANET, INC. opened a wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo. The Redwood City, California firm's UP.Link Platform allows wireless service operators to add new and enhanced services, such as Internet and intranet links. The local operation not only will target the Japanese market but will be responsible for the entire Western Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand.

In a first for the Japanese software industry, MICROSOFT CORP. has signed pacts with seven PC leasing companies allowing them to rent machines with Microsoft programs preinstalled. Windows NT and Microsoft Office are the most likely candidates for the leased PCs, with rental terms of one to six months.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.
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