Consumers in Japan soon will be able to shop for a car by PC. MICROSOFT CORP., SOFTBANK CORP. and YAHOO! JAPAN CORP. have agreed to localize Microsoft's MSN CarPoint on-line automotive service. The launch date is the fourth quarter of this year. A still-unnamed joint venture in which the software giant has a 40 percent interest with Softbank owning 50 percent and Yahoo! Japan 10 percent will convert the American version of CarPoint into Japanese and add content and services specific to the domestic market. Microsoft will provide the technology and the interface design for the service, which will include DealerPoint, a system designed to help car and truck dealers track and manage their Internet customers. Featured on both the MSN Japan and the Yahoo! Japan Web portals, the on-line car- buying service should be available to about 80 percent of Japan's on-line consumers.
DELL COMPUTER CORP.'s local arm has buffed up its e-commerce operations with the help of INFOSYS TECHNOLOGIES LTD. That Fremont, California company first enhanced the operations of the direct marketer/build-to-order PC maker by integrating a Japan-specific configuration and pricing data base with its on-line ordering system. The second phase focused on improving the functionality and the responsiveness of Dell's Japanese Web presence. By 2000, Dell and all of its subsidiaries around the world expect to conduct half of their business on-line.
Leveraging the Web's ability to reach even remote areas and its 24-hour availability, PREVIEW SYSTEMS, INC. and exclusive marketing partner SONY MARKETING (JAPAN) INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 350, November 1998, p. 22) have signed up the first customer for their Internet-based electronic software distribution system. Tokyo-based VECTOR K.K. is using the ESD system to launch a new business delivering demonstration software packages over the Web. Cupertino, California- based Preview Systems' Ziplock ESD not only can be used to deliver software via the Internet but also is adaptable to almost any kind of electronic content, such as digital music and images.
COMMERCE ONE, INC. is partnering with NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. to develop a business-to-business electronic marketplace. The telecommunications heavyweight has licensed the Walnut Creek, California firm's Commerce Chain Solution package as the basis for a Web site for trading goods and services. The software will automatically handle purchase authorization, accounting and contractual procedures. The partners are touting the potential of the B2B site to cut purchasing cycle times, reduce the costs of purchasing operations and increase firms' buying power.
Also targeting the B2B market, INFORMATION RESOURCES ENGINEERING, INC. and partner OSAKA MEDIA PORT CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 21) have begun offering VPN (virtual private network) services via OMP's network and communications circuits. They describe OMP's SafeNet Services as the cornerstone of a secure, tight linkage between a company and its suppliers and customers, especially for those interested in transitioning to e-commerce. Earlier this year, Baltimore-headquartered IRE formed a strategic alliance with Osaka Media Port and MITSUBISHI CORP. to share know-how related to Internet security. Industry sources expect the three companies will begin offering value-added VPN services.
The long-standing joint venture between GE INFORMATION SERVICES, INC. and DENTSU INC. is offering three international network outsourcing packages. For monthly fees starting at $6,700, INFORMATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL-DENTSU, LTD.'s IBP service includes 24-hour network and intranet operations and network monitoring and backup services. ISID's PPP Gateway Service provides Internet access and e-mail support for monthly charges beginning at $1,500. Also on ISID's menu are VPN Security Services. At a monthly cost ranging anywhere from $1,700 to $10,000, ISID not only will operate and maintain a VPN but will build it as well.
Acknowledging that a growing number of e-commerce servers are powered by Linux, CYBERCASH, INC. has ported its Internet payment conduit to the open-source operating system. CashRegister for Linux connects a virtual or real storefront to CyberCash's payment services, enabling businesses to handle secure, real-time payments in person or via the Web. The Reston, Virginia company's subsidiary, in which 11 Japanese companies, mainly banks, are partners, offers a variety of on-line payment solutions.
Through a tie-up with JAPAN TELENET CO., LTD., Naperville, Illinois-based MERCANTEC, INC. has rolled out a localized version of its virtual store design and operation package, SoftCart. SoftCart 4.0/J gives a potential Web merchant a very simple point-and-click interface for building an e- commerce Web site. It also provides the tools to operate and maintain it. Japan Telenet, which helped Mercantec localize the package, leases SoftCart 4.0/J for $250 a month. It is aiming to have 1,000 virtual stores in place by April 2000, generating revenues of $1.5 million the first year.
Making it clear that it thinks the Web browser battle is still on, MICROSOFT CORP. has released a Japanese-language version of Internet Explorer 5.0. The latest iteration of IE sports even closer integration with the Windows operating system as well as a bevy of new features aimed a making Web surfing easier and simpler. As before, IE is offered as part of the Windows operating system bundle or as a free download from the Internet.
CONNECTIX CORP. of San Mateo, California has released a new version of its Surf Express Web browser accelerator through two marketing points: MEDIA VISION INC. of Tokyo and SYSTEMSOFT CO., LTD. of Fukuoka. The $55 browser utility speeds up Internet searches as well as the displaying of Web pages. It is the only accelerator compatible with AMERICA ONLINE, INC.'s Web browser.
The developer of a competing browser accelerator, KISS SOFTWARE CORP., is broadening the market appeal of its Speed Surfer by billing the package as an all-in-one Internet toolbox. The Newport Beach, California company's product includes modules that protect Web sites from unauthorized hacking, monitor modem use and cut off unauthorized connections, scan all virtual ports into the network for "back door" attacks and give users full control over "cookies" stored on their systems by external Web sites. Kiss Software's distributors WINNINGRUN SOFTWARE, INC. and SUPREME RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL have struck a deal with CANON SALES CO., INC. to bundle Speed Surfer-J and MEDIA VISION INC.'s Web Driver browser utility with the COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. and IBM JAPAN LTD. PCs it handles. Kiss Software is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESYNCH CORP.
The subsidiaries of router hardware king CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. and VERISIGN, INC. have joined forces to offer digital certificate-based VPN solutions to businesses. The two have bundled Cisco's network security know-how with VeriSign's OnSite for IPSec for firms interested in engaging in secure e-commerce transactions. The companies hope to generate revenues of $8.3 million over the next two years based on their secure VPN package.
Separately, VERISIGN, INC.'s subsidiary has selected BEING CO., LTD. of Tsu, Mie prefecture to distribute its personal digital certificate security software. The Mountain View, California firm's Digital ID plugs into a user's browser or e-mail software, automatically encrypting messages and sealing them with the user's digital "signature." Being expects sales to hit 10,000 units the first year.
The Japan unit of RSA DATA SECURITY, INC. has rolled out two localized products targeting the needs of Java-language developers. RSA BSAFE SSL-J gives programmers the native Java tools to link the San Mateo, California firm's encryption engine with the Secure Sockets Layer Web standard, while BSAFE Crypto-J does the same for any Java-based application. The two programs start at $20,800. They should find a ready market because e-commerce is booming in Japan.
Santa Cruz, California-based METAWARE INC. has picked SOFTBOAT INC. (formerly Lifeboat Inc.) to handle sales and support of its full line of software development tools on an exclusive basis. The Tokyo company will license MetaWare's High C/C++ and Embedded C++ compilers for the ARM, PowerPC and x86 instruction sets, plus its SeeCode Debugger for the same target processors and the company's Statistical Profiler software performance analysis tool.
As videogame hardware makers race to introduce their next-generation units, game developers will be using METROWERKS, INC.'s software tools to write titles that take full advantage of the hardware advances. The San Jose, California company has signed pacts to port its CodeWarrior integrated development environment, MIPS ISA 4 and SH-4 tools for C/C++ to NINTENDO CO., LTD.'s Nintendo 64, SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD.'s Dreamcast and SONY CORP.'s PlayStation platforms. All three software development kits run under Windows 95/98/NT, allowing game writers to begin creating titles before the hardware makers debut their next generation of systems. The agreements also reduce the roadblocks to porting games among the three systems, a plus for software developers.
IBM JAPAN LTD. is looking for wide distribution of its speech-recognition software development kit for Windows-based PCs running off the new Pentium III processor. ViaVoice 1.5 and related programs allow software developers to make their programs speech-aware. They are available for download at no charge from IBM Japan's Web site.
Working closely with distributor and software solutions provider NETSERVE INC., the subsidiary of PROGRESS SOFTWARE CORP. has rolled out a native Japanese version of its application development, deployment and management software. Apptivity v3 is a Java-based application server and integrated development environment for building Web-based business software. Version 3's interface and output not only are entirely in Japanese, but it offers tools to handle thin client needs, legacy data connectivity, support for the latest Java and Enterprise Java Beans standards and high reliability and scalability. NISSHO IWAI CORP. and INES CORP. are investors in Progress Software's subsidiary along with the Bedford, Massachusetts parent.
UNIFY CORP.'s VISION Web application builder/server package was chosen by MIROKU JYOHO SERVICE CO., LTD. to develop its Management Intelligence Core System for Networks enterprise resource planning solution. The Tokyo-based custom software developer chose the San Jose, California firm's VISION AppBuilder and VISION AppServer because of their simple interface, built-in support for Java and HTML and cross-platform compatibility. Miroku Jyoho Services' MICSNET package is independent of both customers' operating systems and back-end data bases. The first three MICSNET modules cover finance, payroll and sales management.
Southfield, Michigan-based PROFORMA CORP. has named COMPUTER INSTITUTE OF JAPAN, LTD. to sell its business process modeling software. ProVision Workbench 3.1 integrates workflow, use-case modeling and object modeling to create a flexible and seamless environment for visualizing and planning a company's operations and activities. CIJ, an independent software developer with two U.S. subsidiaries (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 10), helped with the localization of ProVision Workbench. It will provide integration and after- sale support.
The operating system software for the S/390 family of mainframe computers has been updated. IBM JAPAN LTD.'s OS S/390 v2 Release 7 is optimized for server operations, handling TCP/IP transactions up to 15 times faster than previous versions and offering built-in network management tools. Lease fees for the new system software begin at $2,800 a month. IBM Japan already is promising that Release 8 will have even better server management tools when it debuts in the fall. .....Separately, IBM JAPAN LTD. has decided to back the Linux open-source operating system. Not only will the subsidiary of the world's premier computer company offer contract-based hardware and software support for Linux, but it will preinstall RED HAT SOFTWARE, INC.'s latest Linux OS package on its PCs at a user's request.
INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC.'s pSOSystem embedded, real-time operating kernel has been chosen by CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD. to run its new QV- 7000SX digital camera. pSOSystem, Casio said, simplified software development for the digital camera, which can take both digital still images and short movies. The company will base future digital imaging products on the Sunnyvale California firm's real-time OS, which is the most widely used such product in the embedded marketplace today.
To meet the robust demand for software that integrates Unix and Windows systems, WRQ, INC. of Seattle continues to bring out localized versions of its Reflection family of middleware (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 25). The latest addition the $670 or so Reflection X v7.1 terminal emulator lets Windows-based PCs act as terminals for a wide range of Unix-based hosts. .....A competing product is being offered by the maker of Windows itself. MICROSOFT CORP.'s $250 Windows NT Services for Unix Add-On Pack/Japanese lets computers running the two operating systems communicate and exchange data.
Network administrators now have access to ELRON SOFTWARE INC.'s award-winning CommandView family of Internet gateway management utilities through distributor ADVANCED RESEARCH OF TECHNOLOGIES, INC. The Cambridge, Massachusetts firm's firewall, Internet access manager and bandwidth manager protect networks from Web-based hacker attacks, limit access to the Internet to authorized users and prioritize Internet access for critical applications.
NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s subsidiary has released new versions of its popular antivirus network utilities. VirusScan Enterprise Edition 4.02, which costs $815, and the $1,000 NetShield 4.02 protect clients and servers, respectively, from hostile computer programs. The programs are up to date, able to prevent damage from the Melissa and the Worm.ExploreZip programs that recently caused problems around the globe.
To maintain its hold on the enterprise storage market, EMC CORP. has developed a data-management utility for Fibre Channel network topologies. EMC Volume Logix protects information residing in multiple files by limiting the ability of each host server in the network to "see" only those volumes for which it has proper authorization. This ability to control host server access to data becomes especially important as a company implements a SAN (storage area network). The Hopkinton, Massachusetts company's subsidiary priced Volume Logix around $18,800.
Following the successful introduction of a Windows NT version of its product (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 345, June 1998, p. 19), LEGATO SYSTEMS, INC. has ported its NetWorker network backup management utility to systems running SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris operating system. In addition, through its subsidiary, the Palo Alto, California firm continues to localize all its software offerings for the Japanese user and to work with Japanese systems integrators to adapt NetWorker for custom environments.
DANTZ DEVELOPMENT CORP. has its eye on the same market. The Orinda, California company recently released a localized version of its Retrospect 4.1 network backup utility. Targeting small to midsized firms that lack in-house computer expertise, Retrospect 4.1 automates the configuration of backup clients and storage media, the creation of backup scripts and the reporting of backup activities. It lists for $270.
ASTEA INTERNATIONAL, INC. appointed MEMOREX TELEX JAPAN LTD. to distribute its ServiceAlliance customer relationship management package. Memorex Telex selected the Horsham, Pennsylvania firm's package for its own use after in-the-field testing. It expects ServiceAlliance's functionality, ease of customization and cost savings not to mention its full conversion to Japanese to appeal to customers.
New York City's RELAVIS CORP. (formerly MFJ International) partnered with CIS CORP. of Tokyo to bring a localized version of its OverQuota sales force automation and CRM software to local users. OverQuota provides a full range of front-office functions: relationship, opportunity and channel management, marketing support, remote/mobile access, team-based selling and sales forecasting. Besides being Internet-friendly, OverQuota works with LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s Notes/Domino groupware, back- end data bases such as INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.'s DB2 and ORACLE CORP.'s family of products and even some ERP packages.
The 100th order from Japan for MOSAIX CORP.'s self-named call management software has been booked by distributor ITOCHU TECHNO- SCIENCE CORP. The latest version of the Redmond, Washington company's product will be installed by DAI-TOKYO FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD. The Tokyo property and casualty insurer was Mosaix's first local customer in mid-1991. It says that it will continue to adopt call-center technology aggressively. The new version of Mosaix will allow 36 of Dai- Tokyo's insurance agents to handle more than 100,000 calls each per month.
Competition in the enterprise management systems business continues to heat up. COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC., for example, is trumpeting the recent selection of its Unicenter TNG package by SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. The videogame maker said that it picked the Islandia, New York firm's EMS for its platform independence and ability to provide comprehensive management for the company's more than 900 amusement facilities throughout Japan. Sega and CA are cooperating on extending Unicenter's reach to 690 of the Japanese firm's white-collar desktops and using it to manage Sega's SAP AG R/3 applications.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has fired back, rolling out a new version of its parent's EMS offering. HP OpenView IT/Operations 4.2 focuses on keeping business-critical applications and services running 24 hours a day. It is written for SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris operating system. MITSUI & CO., LTD. and TOSHIBA CORP. help HP Japan sell, install and support the OpenView family. Licenses for HP OpenView IT/Operations 4.2 start at $52,500 and $130 per node.
An enterprise application integration package is available from the new, wholly owned Tokyo subsidiary of SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES CORP. The Monrovia, California company opened STC JAPAN K.K. to provide sales, support and training for its DataGate integration suite. DataGate supports multiple messaging capabilities, including data conversion, translation, transformation, encryption, monitoring and routing. It also links with more than 20,000 legacy data base systems, ERP packages and other standards-based applications.
FOGLIGHT SOFTWARE, INC. (formerly Resolute Software, Inc.) of Pleasanton, California has brought its application performance management package to Japan with the help of the CAPTECH K.K. subsidiary of CAPITAL TECHNOLOGIES INTEGRATION INC. of Emeryville, California. RAPS v4.2 automates and centralizes application performance management functions, simplifying the tasks of keeping critical programs running, monitoring and reporting on application service levels and allowing administrators to forecast future IT requirements.
Pursuing its vision of becoming a one-stop "knowledge management" software company, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary has released updates of the popular Notes/Domino groupware family. Notes R5, which costs $65 per client, and Domino R5, which starts at $830, not only offer full support for Internet connectivity and distributed computing but provide better integration with ERP programs as well.
Also touting its new persona as a vendor of enterprise information management systems, SEAGATE SOFTWARE, INC. has updated its popular Seagate Crystal Info package and renamed it Seagate Info 7. The integrated suite of business intelligence tools to analyze and share information throughout a corporation includes report design, ad hoc query, advanced SQL editing, OLAP (on-line analytical processing) cube building, multidimensional analysis, report viewers, schedulers and processing servers.
The Linux bandwagon continues to attract new riders, especially among developers of business applications. IBM JAPAN LTD., for example, recently announced that it would port its mainstay DB2 relational data base to the open-source, Unix-based operating system. .....Also getting on for the ride is SYBASE, INC. The Emeryville, California company not only has tweaked its Adaptive Server Enterprise 11.9.2 to run on Linux systems, but its subsidiary plans to offer technical support to users of ASE for Linux when it goes on sale in June. An ASE for Linux five-user license with technical support will be offered at a promotional price of $830 compared with $740 for a license without it.
A historical data base engine developed by FAME INFORMATION SERVICES, INC. is at the heart of a new financial information service developed by NIHON KEIZAI SHIMBUN, INC. and its QUICK CORP. affiliate. The new AMSUS service combines Quick's real-time data distribution platform, QUICK-IS, and Nikkei's NEEDS historical data with the New York City firm's FAME data base engine. Via a simple graphical interface, AMSUS subscribers can analyze and manipulate historical financial information on Japanese firms.
SEMICONDUCTOR LEADING EDGE TECHNOLOGIES INC. the Japanese semiconductor industry consortium researching 300-mm (12-inch) wafer technologies that is better known as SELETE has licensed a cost and resource evaluation solution from WRIGHT WILLIAMS & KELLY of Pleasanton, California. WWK's Factory Commander system will be installed at SELETE's Yokohama headquarters to project the costs and the revenues of transitioning to and operating a 300-mm wafer fabrication plant. SELETE is familiar with WWK's products, having used its Two Cool package over the last two years to hold down the growth of its equipment budget.
The subsidiary of Cary, North Carolina-based SAS INSTITUTE INC. has released a credit and financial risk management package in English, with the Japanese version set for introduction in June. The $500,000 Risk Dimensions gives large companies a complete toolbox for evaluating and managing their market and credit positions, including modules for mark- to-market valuation, scenario and sensitivity analysis and value at risk using several different methods. Risk Dimensions is the centerpiece of a new risk-management consulting and services unit within SAS Institute's local unit. This business will target financial institutions as its first customers, hoping to sign up 10 of them.
The market for ERP software continues to expand. For instance, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s marketing arm, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of SAP AG's R/3 ERP package, has put together a menu of R/3 software and services, including setup or upgrade of the complex program, operation and maintenance, performance analysis and data backup design. For its part, HITACHI, LTD. has added ORACLE CORP.'s ERP package, Oracle Applications, to its portfolio of ERP offerings. These include SAP R/3, BAAN CO.'s BAAN IV and Hitachi's homegrown, low-cost GEM Planet. By boosting its ERP stable to four, Hitachi hopes to boost revenues from this business line to $83 million for the first half of FY 1999.
Meanwhile, SSA, INC.'s subsidiary and HITACHI, LTD. have opened a training and support center in Tokyo for customers running the Chicago firm's BPCS (short for Business Planning and Control System) ERP package on Hitachi mainframes (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 25). .....At the same time, SSA, INC.'s local marketing outfit has brought out a version of BPCS tailored for the Internet age. eBPCS extends the ERP architecture throughout a manufacturer's supply chain and financial links, integrating easily with third-party software and legacy systems to provide seamless business process integration.
MARCAM CORP. is promoting sales of its Protean ERP package through partner NEC CORP. The Newton, Massachusetts company and NEC have been working together for some time to adapt and expand Protean to meet the special needs of Japanese businesses. The latest twist is to add an accounting module to offer consolidated financial management functions, features being tested by TEIJIN LTD. NEC hopes to boost the number of companies using Protean to 70 in the current fiscal year from about 50 in FY 1998.
Continuing to expand its distribution channels, supply chain management software developer I2 TECHNOLOGIES, INC. recently signed NIPPON STEEL CORP. and a KOBE STEEL, LTD. affiliate to market its Rhythm family. They join ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary as distributors. i2's product is at the core of a collaborative supply and demand planning system that several major Japanese companies are developing for the retail sector (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 28).
WARNER-LAMBERT CO. is helping its subsidiary get into fighting shape by installing SCM software from MANUGISTICS, INC. The maker of pharmaceuticals, personal-care products and confectioneries will implement the Rockville, Maryland firm's SCM solution in all stages of operations from materials procurement to shipment, with the goal of reducing inventory costs by 20 percent and increasing inventory turnover by 30 percent. The system will be installed first in Warner-Lambert's shaving products department before being extended to cover other parts of the business.
NIKE INC.'s Japan unit has the same idea, installing a predictive retail and inventory management system developed by a division of San Diego, California-based HNC SOFTWARE INC. HNC Retek Retail Solutions and integrator ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. installed the first Japanese version of the Retek Merchandising System at Nike's operations in just six months and on budget.
A fully localized version of COCREATE SOFTWARE INC.'s latest product data management solution is available through its subsidiary. WorkManager 5.1 puts the workflow process into Cyberspace with its Web-based features, including data base server monitoring and circular link checking. The $15,800 PDM package accepts data from several mechanical design programs, such as SolidDesigner and ME10, and integrates with ERP packages like SAP R/3. Sales of 40 copies are projected for the first year. Fort Collins, Colorado-based CoCreate is a HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. company.
TAYLOR MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS, INC. has completed installation of its advanced manufacturing planning and scheduling system at one of AIWA CO., LTD.'s plants. The Atlanta firm's TESS program was integrated with SSA, INC.'s BPCS ERP package to help Aiwa plant managers increase manufacturing efficiency and facilitate short-term production forecasting. In time, TESS will be integrated with BPCS at all of Aiwa's consumer electronics facilities around the world.
Also in the area of manufacturing execution software, SEQUENCIA CORP. (formerly PID, Inc.) has signed a deal with MORINAGA MILK INDUSTRY CO., LTD. to install its OpenBatch recipe-management software at multiple Morinaga facilities. The Phoenix, Arizona firm's product first will be used to control the mixing and cooking of cheeses at a Morinaga plant near Yokohama. OpenBatch will be extended to the production of other products if all goes well. Morinaga makes many products under license from KRAFT FOODS, INC.
Users of Windows-based PCs have two new utilities to make life simpler. SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary has released a localized version of its latest disk troubleshooting and repair package, Norton Utilities 4.0 for Windows 95/98. At $80, the new version is 17 percent less expensive than the one it supersedes, a factor behind Symantec's sales goal of 150,000 units the first year. Meanwhile, a function-key customization program written by KISS SOFTWARE CORP. has been translated into Japanese by WINNINGRUN SOFTWARE, INC. for sale under its Software Magic brand name. ShortCuts 2.0 allows users to define macros for up to 42 different keys, including such common Web-surfing functions as going to favorite Web sites or pages.
On the Windows CE front, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s unit has rolled out an information management application that runs on Windows CE personal digital assistants and other handheld devices but is not linked to its Notes/Domino groupware. The $30 Organizer 2000 is built around a schedule manager. It also includes modules to exchange data with host systems through Internet or cellular phone connections.
EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s local operation is offering a Japanese version of Kodak Picture Shot, a digital-image viewing utility for Windows CE devices. NEC CORP. has agreed to bundle the utility with its Mobile Gear II line of PDAs.
In a potential boost for Windows CE, MICROSOFT CORP. and NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC., Japan's biggest cellular services provider, have signed a research agreement to adapt the operating system for use in cell phones. The first upgrade planned is to give Windows CE the power to handle changes in the quality of cellular connections. Then the two will focus on developing e-mail, appointment and other information services delivered through Windows CE-powered mobile terminals.
Add another major win for PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORP.'s Pro/ENGINEER mechanical design automation package. YANMAR DIESEL ENGINE CO., LTD. has contracted to spend $40 million over the next six years on Pro/ENGINEER software and services. The Osaka-based engine maker said that it decided to standardize on Pro/ENGINEER because the package offered all the features that the company needs to streamline its production processes while expanding global market share. HITACHI, LTD. also picked PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORP.'s Pro/ENGINEER system to enhance the competitiveness of its Mito Works elevator and escalator manufacturing operations. The conglomerate will spend $2.4 million on Pro/ENGINEER and PTC consulting time to implement a design-through- manufacturing system.
AUTODESK, INC. has reworked its flagship 2D CAD product with the millennium in mind. AutoCAD 2000, the successor to AutoCAD v14, brings full integration with the Internet to the popular CAD program for PCs. AutoCAD 2000 also will become the keystone of a new family of specialized CAD programs that provide complete, vertical solutions to specific industries. Autodesk's subsidiary has priced AutoCAD 2000 at $5,000, although companies upgrading from an earlier version of AutoCAD will pay only $830.
Even as it revamps its entire product line, THINK3 (formerly CadLab, Inc.) of Santa Clara, California is maintaining its ties with exclusive distributor TOYOTA CAELUM, INC. That company, a joint venture between TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. and MITSUI ENGINEERING & SHIPBUILDING CO., LTD., has put on the market the final iteration version 9 of think3's Eureka Gold low-cost 3D CAD program for Windows 95/98/NT systems. It is priced at $7,500. Seven companies resell think3's products (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 26). They expect to sell 1,000 copies of the latest Eureka Gold program in the initial year.
Competing 3D CAD software maker COCREATE SOFTWARE INC. has signed up another distributor for its SolidDesigner package. FUJITSU KYUSHU ENGINEERING LTD. will sell and support the $1.3 million SolidDesigner. It is looking for sales of 100 units a year. The FUJITSU, LTD. affiliate joins four other distributors of the Fort Collins, Colorado firm's products. They include OBIC BUSINESS CONSULTANTS CO., LTD. and OTSUKA SHOKAI CO., LTD.
Market newcomer VISIONARY DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. has given exclusive distribution rights to its mechanical CAD program to HITACHI ZOSEN INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. HZIS, described as Japan's foremost MCAD systems integrator and value-added reseller, will help to translate the Santa Clara, California firm's IronCAD package into Japanese as well as market and support the software through its extensive existing network. IronCAD realizes Visionary Design's "e-Engineering" approach by integrating the complete design chain through the Web.
Englewood, Florida-based MERRY MECHANIZATION, INC. has brought its low-cost 3D CAD system for sheet-metal stamping to the Japanese market through its Osaka subsidiary. Sheet Lightning, sold as SMP/IS Master Series in the United States, helps engineers transform 2D or 3D CAD drawings created with other software packages into the patterns, molds and related components needed to turn sheet metal into the desired product.
A utility from ACTIFY, INC. allows users of its 3D View program to import and display CAD drawings from a wide range of sources, including CATIA, IGES, STL, VDA-FS, Parasolid, SolidWorks, DXF/DWG, ISO and G-Code. Distributor DATA DESIGN, INC. is asking only $240 for the San Francisco-based company's product.
Electronic design automation leader CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. and FUJITSU, LTD. have integrated their ASIC design tools to make it easier to produce single-chip systems. The strategic development partners combined the San Jose, California firm's System Level Constraint flow design process with Fujitsu's proprietary design tools. A new method of constraint passing with advanced timing-driven placement, routing and physical optimization techniques shortens the design time for system-on- a-chip devices by as much as 30 percent. Moreover, the technique is applicable to 0.25-micron to 0.18-micron process technologies.
Also targeting the design of chips with more than 100 million transistors is start-up Y EXPLORATIONS, INC. of Irvine, California. It assigned marketing rights to its LSI design support system to SOLITON SYSTEMS K.K. The Tokyo firm will install and support the user-friendly package, which integrates intellectual property cores into complete one-chip systems at a cost of around $250,000.
A new static noise analysis tool from CADMOS DESIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC. is available locally through MARUBENI SOLUTIONS CORP. The San Jose, California firm claims that PacifIC is the first comprehensive noise analyzer for deep-submicron designs, allowing designers to validate highly complex chips before reaching silicon. The package starts at $319,200. Nonetheless, because of the CadMOS package's unique capabilities, Marubeni Solutions expects to sell 20 in the first year of marketing.
Building on a February 1998 tie-up, MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP. licensed big PCB design tool maker ZUKEN INC. to sell its Interconnectix high-speed PCB design software. Yokohama-based Zuken and Wilsonville, Oregon- headquartered Mentor Graphics jointly will develop an interface that transparently exchanges data between Zuken's CR-5000 PCB design package and Interconnectix.
New partners VERIBEST, INC. of Boulder, Colorado and CADIX INC. are offering alternative PCB design systems. The Tokyo company, Japan's number-two PCB tool supplier, will market and support both its own Circuit Assembly CAD (SFX Series) and, on an exclusive basis, VeriBest's Expedition Series for digital and mixed-signal boards that run on Windows NT systems instead of expensive engineering workstations. The combined package is priced from $50,000. Boulder, Colorado-based VeriBest will continue to support its PCB products locally and to sell its computer- aided engineering tools directly.
Both home and business users now have access to PHOTODISC, INC.'s library of more than 75,000 digitized stock photographs, thanks to a nonexclusive distribution agreement with AMANA CORP., a leading vendor of custom and stock images. The pact allows amana to distribute PhotoDisc's more than 160 CD-ROMs of royalty-free stock images as well as to burn custom-order discs of images drawn from the Seattle company's image resources. PhotoDisc has a Tokyo sales office but uses distributors to reach a broader market.
ALGOREX, INC. has picked NTT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES CORP. to sell its telecommunications network design software. The San Francisco firm's Algoware family of software tools lets engineers easily build wireless and wired digital communications systems using Algorex's ready-to-use algorithms. The package then analyzes and evaluates the systems from various standpoints, such as robustness.
Preparing to provide the telephone service of the future, INTER-TEL, INC. is offering the latest version of its Internet protocol telephony gateway through NTT INTERNATIONAL CORP. and NTT COMMUNICATIONWARE CORP. With help from these two companies, the Phoenix, Arizona firm's Vocal'Net IP Gateway is compatible with the Signaling System 7 standard protocol used in existing telephone networks. This compatibility, which extends to NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP.'s switches, allows Internet telephony providers to offer such commonly expected services as caller ID, call forwarding and call blocking.
The benefits of SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Java, Jini and JavaCard technologies will be brought to NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC.'s digital cellular customers. The partners have started to integrate these technologies into NTT DoCoMo's i-mode digital cellular services network and its upcoming wideband-CDMA third-generation digital cellular system. i-mode customers can browse the Web, check their e- mail and use on-line services via specially equipped iPhones. NTT DoCoMo officials say that integrating Sun's technology will improve security for such i-mode transactions as on-line shopping and banking as well as give the i-mode system the flexibility to support future devices and services. Sun and NTT DoCoMo expect to demonstrate the first prototype of the Java technology-enabled i-mode phone this year.
In a similar deal, PUMA TECHNOLOGY, INC. has licensed its Intellisync Anywhere software to NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. for use in its i-mode infrastructure. The San Jose, California firm's program automatically keeps the information held by mobile devices in sync with that stored in master data bases. By this fall, Intellisync Anywhere will give i-mode users automatic and constant access to the latest information on things like train and airline schedules, entertainment tickets and stock prices as well as personal data such as appointments, phone numbers and addresses. .....Separately, PUMA TECHNOLOGY, INC., which opened a wholly owned subsidiary last summer, announced that it had selected SOFTBANK CORP. to market, distribute and support Intellisync Anywhere to corporate Japan. Softbank also will handle relations with local value-added resellers and integrators interested in the automatic synchronization software for mobile devices.
In yet another wireless mobile communications deal, UNWIRED PLANET, INC. has licensed its Wireless Application Protocol-compatible microbrowser to MATSUSHITA COMMUNICATION INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. This company will incorporate the Redwood City, California firm's UP.Browser into its entire line of next-generation wireless mobile phones sold under the Panasonic brand. UP.Browser currently supports GSM (global system for mobile communications), TDMA (time-division multiple access), PDC (personal digital communications), PHS and cdmaOne wireless protocols. Unwired Planet is preparing modules to support next-generation standards now under development.
GEMSTAR INTERNATIONAL GROUP LTD., big ad agency DENTSU INC. and TOKYO NEWS SERVICE LTD., the publisher of entertainment magazines, including the Japanese version of TV Guide, have formed INTERACTIVE PROGRAM GUIDE INC. to offer interactive television services throughout Japan. The joint venture hopes that the Pasadena, California firm's G- Guide Gold electronic program guide (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 344, May 1998, p. 14) will become an advertising, promotion, sponsorship and transaction platform favored by Japanese households. G- Guide Gold already allows users to view a television program guide on- screen, find details about shows, sort shows by themes or categories, and select shows for recording all by using a remote control. Gemstar has a 50 percent interest in Interactive Program Guide. Dentsu put up 42.5 percent of the firm's capital and Tokyo News Service the balance.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has released a package designed to both improve the performance of electrocardiogram machines and simplify the process of taking ECG readings. The $1,200 EASI software runs on HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s Viridia CMS family of patient monitors. It allows 12-lead ECGs to be made with only five electrodes attached to the patient. Since this is half the number of electrodes that other systems use, EASI provides better data while lightening the burden of ECG tests on both patients and administering nurses.
In a move designed to gain better control over its Asian distribution strategy, PHARMACOPEIA, INC. recently bought out equal partner TEIJIN LTD. in TEIJIN MOLECULAR SIMULATIONS INC. TMSI, established in 1992, is the distributor of MOLECULAR SIMULATIONS INC. software in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. Pharmacopeia acquired MSI in June 1998. As part of the approximately $10 million deal with Teijin, the Princeton, New Jersey company also purchased Teijin's distribution rights to MSI software in Japan. TMSI has been renamed MOLECULAR SIMULATIONS K.K. Asia accounted for roughly 20 percent of Pharmacopeia's MSI software sales in 1998. ..... At the same time, MOLECULAR SIMULATIONS K.K. reached an agreement in principle with RYOKA SYSTEMS INC. to make the wholly owned MITSUBISHI CHEMICAL CORP. subsidiary the exclusive distributor of its medical simulation software in Japan. Under the pact, Ryoka has agreed to boost sales of the molecular modeling, simulation and informatics software over the next two years. For the last decade, Ryoka was the main local subdistributor of MSI products.
ECHELON CORP. has announced that KINDEN CORP., OBAYASHI CORP., SHIMIZU CORP. and TAKASAGO THERMAL ENGINEERING CO., LTD. have become the newest authorized integrators of the Palo Alto, California firm's facilities control network software and hardware, LonWorks and LonPoint. Open-standards LonWorks already controls buildings, factories and facilities like dams around the world. The four engineering and construction firms will design, install and maintain LonPoint systems, which combine control hardware with LonWorks. Kinden, partnered with another Japanese firm, already has won a contract from KANSAI ELECTRIC POWER CO., INC., its top shareholder, to install LonWorks at one of the big utility's generating facilities.
To help hoteliers in Japan maximize the use of their resources, REZSOLUTIONS INC. and NEC CORP. will combine the Phoenix, Arizona firm's RezView central reservation system with NEC's NEHOPS property- management system. The merged CRS/PMS program will give users a complete view of a hotel's room inventory. It will have a fully localized front-end based on REZsolutions' WinAI and NetREZ interfaces. Not only have the two inked a sales, service and cobranding agreement to support the new integrated system, but they also have decided to develop an Internet booking system that will link authorized local travel agents into the new network.
To better pursue the geographical information systems market, INTERGRAPH CORP. has spun out INTERGRAPH COMPUTER SYSTEM JAPAN K.K. from its wholly owned subsidiary. ICSJ has released English-language versions of GeoWeb Map, an Internet-based map search and display software, as well as GeoMedia Network, which plots out the most efficient routes for transit or transport applications. Japanese-language versions are promised for the end of this year.
Hoping to keep its place at the head of on-line video gaming, VR-1, INC. acquired game developer POW GAMES CO., LTD. and transformed the Tokyo developer of more than 100 games for multiple platforms into its Japanese subsidiary and the headquarters of the Boulder, Colorado firm's Asian operations. VR-1 JAPAN INC.'s first task will be to prepare its parent's VR-1 Conductor technology, which allows large numbers of players to contest with each other simultaneously on-line, for the debut of Internet-enabled, next-generation game consoles planned by SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. and SONY CORP. VR-1 Japan also will handle local licensing arrangements.
IMS HEALTH of Westport, Connecticut has decided to focus on its core competency health-care and pharmaceutical information systems by selling its local ERP marketing subsidiary, SSJ K.K., to ARGOTECHNOS 21 CORP. of Tokyo for a reported $5.8 million. Both SSJ and IMS Health were spun out when COGNIZANT CORP. streamlined its business lines in 1996 and 1998, respectively.
An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa