To keep its Web site at the cutting edge, AMERICA ONLINE INC.'s subsidiary has teamed with EXCITE INC. of Redwood City, California to develop a localized version of AOL's NetFind Internet search and navigation tool, which relies on Excite's smart- search technology. Local users will be able to type in a word or a phrase in Japanese indicating the information they seek, and AOL NetFind will provide a list of links to Web sites matching the request. AOL and Excite will share advertising revenues generated by the service. Year-old-plus AOL JAPAN INC. is a joint venture between Dulles, Virginia-based AOL and MITSUI & CO., LTD. (40 percent) and NIHON KEIZAI SHIMBUN, INC. (10 percent). Excite also has a Japanese subsidiary.
A new Internet information service combines the Datastream/ICV global historical financial data base developed by a subsidiary of Waltham, Massachusetts-based PRIMARK CORP. with QUICK CORP.'s real-time equity-price information service. QUICK-Stream will "provide comprehensive coverage of financial market information outside Japan, which will help us meet the requirements of our clients in the midst of globalization and diversification of asset allocation," said the director and general manager of Tokyo-based Quick.
Internet-based auctioneer ONSALE INC. and SOFTBANK CORP. will develop and operate an Internet shopping mall for the Japanese market via a new company in which the Mountain View, California firm has a 40 percent interest. The real-time auction service is set to begin early next year. It will use ONSALE's unusual approach to Web sales. Products on the site will have minimum prices listed, but the final sales price and the buyer will be determined by an open Web auction. Softbank plans to obtain PCs, consumer electronics products, sporting goods and similar merchandise for auction from Japanese manufacturers with excess inventory.
To help other companies dive into Web sales, IBM JAPAN LTD. is offering a localized version of Net.Commerce V3 START, a virtual store construction and operation kit. Vendors can get started immediately by using one of the prebuilt sample "stores" included in the $5,200 kit, but they also can use the kit's tools to customize their own Web sales site. The program provides full SET-based security for electronic transactions and helps vendors collect information on the customers who surf in the "door."
The Tokyo subsidiary of VERISIGN, INC. has won a contract to secure SUMITOMO BANK, LTD.'s on-line financial services through its OnSite public key infrastructure system. The distributed PKI system can issue and manage digital identifications in the millions, a key feature for the bank, which hopes to attract many customers worldwide to its 18-month-old Internet banking services. In addition, Mountain View, California- based VeriSign will safeguard Sumitomo Bank's network communications with its 128-bit Global Server IDs. .....Separately, VERISIGN, INC.'s local operation has launched a premium reseller program with 10 Japanese firms, including NEC CORP. The resellers will incorporate VeriSign's E-Commerce Solutions security product, which is powered by OnSite, into their own software offerings.
Seattle-based REALNETWORKS, INC. has granted YAMAHA CORP. a license to incorporate its RealVideo and RealAudio media streaming technologies into the firm's MIDI packages. Yamaha hopes to have a beta version of the integrated software ready by this fall and a commercial product before the year's end.
The Java language continues to mature rapidly, as shown by the polish and the functionality of SYMANTEC CORP.'s latest edition of its Java-based application development suite, Visual Café for Java 2.5. The new release supports all features of JDK 1.1.5 and runs on Windows 95/NT systems. The Cupertino, California firm's subsidiary is marketing a professional version for $265 as well as a $58 data base API (application programming interface) add-on.
Another sign of Java's coming of age is RSA DATA SECURITY, INC.'s cryptographic tool, JSAFE 1.1, which can add security to all aspects of Java functions. The latest update of JSAFE does the encryption math in half the time of its predecessor as well as provides improved memory management and automatic hooks into RSA's BSAFE crypto tool. The San Mateo, California company's subsidiary is targeting sales of $740,700 for the software suite, which starts at $18,500. .....Separately, RSA DATA SECURITY, INC.'s local unit has rolled out a new version of the BSAFE cryptographic development toolkit. The 4.0 version includes public key algorithms (RSA, DSA and Diffie-Hellman), a spectrum of symmetric algorithms (RC2, RC5, DES and Triple-DES) and message digest algorithms (MD2, MD5 and SHA-1). In addition, BSAFE 4.0 includes RSA's new elliptical curve technology, which, while currently unproven, will allow developers to begin to familiarize themselves with this new method. BSAFE pricing also starts at $18,500. RSA's subsidiary has set the same sales goal for this package as it did for JSAFE.
HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. has received U.S. government approval to export its most advanced encryption services fulfillment and management technology to Japan. HP's VerSecure uses 128-bit keys and Triple-DES, but it can be tailored to provide the appropriate level of security for any type of electronic interaction. Based on its success with American hardware makers, HP expects to license VerSecure to a variety of Japanese computer and communications firms. Japan is the sixth country to which HP has been cleared to export VerSecure technology. It will be installed and managed by a Japanese company known as a security domain authority. That organization will distribute software tokens that activate encryption capabilities that support Japan's policy for local companies.
Makers of Unix operating system software are gearing up for the next big battle -- 64- bit software. SANTA CRUZ OPERATION, INC.'s subsidiary has started shipping UnixWare 7, which is targeted at departmental and enterprise computing markets that plan to shift next year to INTEL CORP.'s IA-64 64-bit architecture. The updated OS starts at $550 for an application development kit. "Purpose-built" UnixWare 7 products also are offered for enterprises, departments, intranets and messaging.
For its part, HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. announced that it would license its HP-UX operating system to HITACHI, LTD. and NEC CORP. for future parallel computing systems based on INTEL CORP.'s IA-64 architecture. The arrangement represents the first time that HP has licensed HP-UX for the Intel architecture. Company executives said that the move was designed to ensure that HP-UX, which runs on HP's PA-RISC processors, becomes the dominant platform for IA-64. While HP sells midrange servers running Windows NT, HP-UX offers much better reliability and scalability to users with major demands. FUJITSU, LTD., Japan's other big server manufacturer, is going with SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris Unix-based system for 64-bit servers (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 344, May 1998, p. 6).
At the other end of the scale, an embedded real-time operating system written by INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. of Sunnyvale, California has been endorsed by six more digital camera makers, including MINOLTA CO., LTD. and KYOCERA CORP. CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD. was the first company to back it. ISI is aiming for the lion's share of the local market for embedded operating systems for electronic devices.
A three-way alliance is using a software lure to promote INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s AS/400 as a server platform in Japan. MAGIC SOFTWARE ENTERPRISES INC. and IBM JAPAN LTD. have agreed to make the Irvine, California firm's Magic Rapid Application Development System the programming environment of choice for the midrange computer family. MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. through its PANASONIC COMPUTER CO., LTD. unit will join the effort, becoming a strategic reseller of Magic's server development product. MEI previously promoted only Magic's tools for developing client applications.
More firms are rushing to help Japanese companies ward off computer problems caused by the year 2000. DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary will accept copies of customers' operating systems, review them for Y2K compliance, then write patches to accommodate dates beyond 1999. It expects revenues from Y2K services to hit $740,700 this year. ....Two San Jose, California firms are teaming up to offer Y2K services through a new Tokyo subsidiary. MATRIDIGM CORP. and IGNITE ASSOCIATES LLC will offer Y2K solutions based on MatriDigm's MARC2000 technology, including assessment, project management, code audit and code renovation. MatriDigm owns 25 percent of the Japanese unit.
The competition with MICROSOFT CORP.'s BackOffice software is heating up with IBM JAPAN LTD.'s introduction of server suites for all sizes of businesses. The basic IBM Suite -- priced from roughly $2,100 to $5,900, with $2,700 expected to be the cost of the most popular package -- can include any of these modules: Lotus Domino collaboration server, DB2 universal data base, eNetwork Communications Server, Tivoli Management Server and IBM Backup Server. The enterprise edition, which costs up to $18,500, adds IBM Transaction Series and MQSeries messaging middleware. IBM Japan says that the packages will save customers 30 percent to 40 percent over a separate pricing approach.
With corporate networks in Japan quickly multiplying, the market for network monitoring and management software remains active. ADVENT NETWORK MANAGEMENT, INC. and exclusive distributor NK-EXA CORP. have brought out a new release of the Woodbridge, New Jersey firm's Advent NetMonitor package. The $2,200 version 2.1J not only takes advantage of the software's easy language adaptability but offers greater support for Web browser links, Java JDK 1.1x support and more friendly user interfaces as well. .....A competing product from HEWLETT- PACKARD CO. -- HP NetMetrix -- allows network administrators to collect, consolidate, interpret and organize network performance data into easily understandable formats. NetMetrix comes in three "flavors": Unix (for HP-UX and SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris), Windows and heterogeneous wide area networks (frame relay, X.25 or HDLC). HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. expects to sell 190 units of the $7,000 program the first year.
Through its subsidiary, LEGATO SYSTEMS, INC. of Palo Alto, California has introduced a localized version of the latest release of its NetWorker network backup utility. The 5.1J version supports Windows NT systems while offering faster performance and greater adaptability. A general-use version is priced around $1,700; an enterprise edition costs $10,800.
In its first step toward carrying out plans to become a complete computer solutions provider to businesses, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s unit is bundling firewall software from AXENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC. of Rockville, Maryland with its ProLiant and ProSignia servers. Compaq has packaged AXENT THE WALL Xtended and Raptor Firewall 5.0 for NT in three versions: a 50-user pack for $1,300, a 100-user pack for $10,400 and an unlimited license for $20,000. The company's follow-up moves will be to offer services to cut the total cost of ownership for networks and to resell SAP AG's enterprise resource planning software.
CITADEL TECHNOLOGY INC. has signed an exclusive distribution and marketing agreement with SYSTEM PLAN INC. to penetrate the network and workstation security market in Japan and in the rest of Asia. The Tokyo company will handle all language modifications and local distribution and marketing of Citadel's full line of products, including CPR, Server Sentry, NetOFF, WinShield and FolderBolt. Dallas-based Citadel expects System Plan's ties to NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. and NTT DATA CORP. to pay off handsomely.
To help Japanese customers safeguard critical data and communications through its SecurID authentication technology, SECURITY DYNAMICS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has opened a wholly owned Tokyo operation. Along with the local presence of the Bedford, Massachusetts firm's RSA DATA SECURITY, INC. subsidiary, the new unit seeks to develop strategic partnerships with Japanese firms as well as support RSA's customers around the Pacific Rim.
INTERNET DEVICES, INC. of Sunnyvale, California is offering Japanese customers a one-stop source for their computer security needs in cooperation with new strategic partner FURUKAWA ELECTRIC CO., LTD. IDI's line revolves around its Fort Knox modular security software. Rather than have separate servers for firewalls, virtual private networks, e-mail and other Internet/intranet/extranet services, users can combine as many or as few Fort Knox modules together to meet their needs with a single, turnkey product. Furukawa Electric officials expect the partnership to generate sales of $12 million over the next three years based on Fort Knox module prices ranging from $2,700 to $12,400.
ORACLE CORP.'s latest release of its multidimensional data base Oracle OLAP Server 6.1 boosts both processing speed and analytic sophistication. The Windows NT version retails for $8,900 and up, while the Unix version starts at $9,300. .....SAS INSTITUTE INC. is keeping pace with a new version of its competing on-line analytical processing/data mining product, Enterprise Miner. The Cary, North Carolina firm's product sports a unique Process Flow Diagram approach to data mining, letting users search for patterns and relationships by simply dragging and dropping data and function icons. SAS's subsidiary expects sales of the $71,100 (for a five-client license) package will hit 150 units the first year and generate sales and service revenues of $22.2 million.
New on the market from LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s local arm is a document management solution. The company claims that Domino.Doc 1.1, which costs $10,000 per server, is the only "out-of-the-box" document management program for network environments. Recognizing that corporate information takes many forms, Domino.Doc handles audio, video and graphics as well as traditional text.
Three new programs available locally target specialized data management needs. MAPINFO CORP.'s SpatialWare 2.1J stores geographic data in a relational data base, allowing people to use the data in sophisticated ways through simple queries. The Troy, New York firm's package is handled by an affiliate of MITSUI ENGINEERING & SHIPBUILDING CO., LTD. .....DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP.'s operation has crafted a data base system to meet the special needs of Japan's intellectual property regime. Available from RIKEI CORP. for anywhere from $111,100 to $370,400, Patent Focus Plus handles all types of patents and related information, helping companies defend and better utilize their IP resources. .....A system to store, manage and distribute medical image data -- DIGITAL ARTS & SCIENCES CORP.'s ImageAXS Pro-Med -- can be purchased exclusively from NICHIMEN DATA SYSTEMS CORP. The Alameda, California company's product handles still and video images as well as related audio and text information. It also offers support for DICOM (digital imaging and communications in medicine) links, visual annotation and electronic consultations over the Internet.
Leading its effort to remain at the top of the ERP business, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary put on the market a new version of Oracle Applications. Besides handling the usual ERP functions -- manufacturing/supply chain management, financials, human resources and front office tasks -- Release 11 has a fully integrated Business Intelligence System that lets all levels of the enterprise tap all information resources to find answers to their questions. CSK CORP. is helping to sell and integrate the ERP package. Sales are projected to hit $1.5 million this year and $4.4 million in 2000.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based CINCOM SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary is broadening its ERP offerings. The company has broken its Control package into 10 modules, including Control Manufacturing (manufacturing execution) and Control Acquire (sales force automation). Control works with data base systems from ORACLE CORP. and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 341, February 1998, p. 21).
MATRIXONE, INC. has brought its product development management package to local users through MARUBENI SOLUTIONS CORP. The Chelmsford, Massachusetts firm's Matrix not only integrates easily with ERP and computer-aided design programs, but it sets up quickly thanks to Business Wizards on-line help and reconfigures to meet changing business roles and processes without taking the system off line. Marubeni Solutions expects Matrix sales to hit $11.1 million this year, with prices starting at $86,700.
A new program from OPTIKA IMAGING SYSTEMS, INC. raises the concepts of electronic data interchange and supply chain management to a new, integrated, Internet-centric level. The Colorado Springs, Colorado firm spent two years developing Optika eMedia, trying to eliminate paper transactions at their source inside a company as well as between a company and its customers and suppliers. Optika eMedia goes beyond traditional document imaging to make all business transactions electronically based and to tie together all types of data resources. Tokyo-based HASSO CORP., which is responsible for localizing and distributing Optika eMedia, projects revenues this year of $7.4 million.
Building on its solid base of PC utility programs, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. is moving into the help-desk market. McAfee HelpDesk 3.30J automates many call- center operations, such as entering caller information, and generates answers based on inputs using reasoning and knowledge-based tools. The Santa Clara, California firm claims that the package, which starts at $4,100 for a five-seat license, will help cut the total cost of ownership of PCs and networks.
Field service personnel faced with a rapidly growing number of products to support and expanding technical complexity can get a helping hand from RTS SOFTWARE INC.'s RTS Service Suite. The package handles and tracks all service requests as well as acts as a single entry point to product data, specifications and manuals. OMRON ALPHATEC CO., LTD. and TERAOKA SEIKO CO., LTD. have signed multimillion-dollar contracts to install the Waltham, Massachusetts firm's software throughout their global service networks. Included are kanji versions of five RTS applications.
Along with the local release of its Windows 98 operating system, MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary rolled out a new version of its Money personal finance management program. Money 98, which lists at $87, offers home banking services through the Internet, long-term goal planning and asset-management modules.
LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s local operation has freshened its perennial 1-2-3 line of products to take advantage of Windows 98. Lotus 1-2-3 98 spreadsheet, which costs $148, 1-2-3 Accounting, priced at double that figure, and the $185 Lotus Super Office 98 offer better integration with Internet services. The Lotus subsidiary expects combined sales to top 3 million units.
Even as it tries to build new markets, PC utility maker NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC. is not ignoring its bread-and-butter business. The company's local operation has released a new English version of its Pretty Good Privacy encryption software as well as a version targeted at protecting data stored on removable media and mobile computers.
Building on its large, established customer base, the subsidiary of SYMANTEC CORP. is offering a new antivirus service to businesses. Beginning at $4,200 a year for 100 users, the firm provides weekly updates to its virus data base through a Web site.
Working together, engineers from MICROTEST INC. and Tokyo-based ARK INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. have expanded the capabilities of the Phoenix, Arizona firm's Virtual CD utility. The original program allowed an user to transfer a CD- ROM's contents to his or her PC's hard disk drive, yet access it as if it were a CD-ROM drive. The new program allows this virtual CD-ROM to be shared across a network. It also allows caching of audio, mixed-mode audio/data, CDI video and CD-extra data on any local or networked storage device. Sold in Japan by AIS as CD Revolution/VIRTUAL, the program has won awards and is a best seller.
VIAGRAFIX CORP.'s family of CAD programs for Windows-based PCs continues to evolve. The Pryor, Oklahoma-based firm has released in Japan DesignCAD LT, priced around $260, and DesignCAD Pro, which costs $405, through distributor E&C CORP. of Tokyo. The lower-priced product offers strong two-dimensional capabilities and elementary 3D functions, letting users experiment and determine if they need the more expensive solid-modeling features. ViaGrafix's professional edition has extensive 3D features as well as interfaces for many programming languages and other CAD programs.
To promote sales of CAD products, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has set up a separate subsidiary for its parent's COCREATE SOFTWARE INC. unit (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 339, December 1997, p. 21). The 60-person Tokyo operation will focus on consulting for machine-oriented CAD installations as well as CAD software education. It also will support production data management tools. HP Japan has experienced strong demand for CAD and PDM software over the past year and expects this trend to continue.
Ann Arbor, Michigan-headquartered TRANSOM TECHNOLOGIES, INC., a leader in digital human mock-ups, human modeling and simulation, and human virtual reality, has introduced a new 3D modeling environment. Based on software developed by the University of Pennsylvania, Transom Jack lets users import objects into a virtual environment, populate it with human figures, allow these figures to interact, then export the virtual world to a variety of sources, including video tape. Exclusive distributor INFORMATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL-DENTSU, LTD. sees a wide range of applications for Transom Jack in Japan, including ergonomics simulation by automotive and consumer goods makers.
An exchange rate of ¥135=$1.00 was used in this report.