Although the start was slow, Japan's on-line marketplace now is expanding by leaps and bounds. A case in point is that a second company is planning to sell cars and trucks over the Internet. Taking on SOFTBANK CORP., MICROSOFT CORP. and YAHOO! JAPAN CORP. the potent trio behind CARPOINT JAPAN K.K. (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 25) is a partnership spearheaded by AUTOBYTEL.COM INC. The global leader in automotive e-commerce has a one-third interest in an eponymous local company that expects to launch sales of new vehicles in the fourth quarter of this year. Its partners are systems integrator INTEC INC. (16.6 percent), ITOCHU CORP., RECRUIT CO., LTD. and TRANS COSMOS INC., each of which has a 13.4 percent stake, ORIENT CORP. (5.4 percent) and E-SOLUTIONS INC. (4.5 percent). While the virtual new-car lot will be powered by Autobytel's technology, the California company is relying on its Japanese partners to tweak the Web site to suit the tastes and the buying habits of Japanese consumers. They also will have to recruit dealers to participate in the Internet site. In early 2000, the local Autobytel group plans to add sales of used vehicles as well as financing and insurance services.
People who enjoy the outdoors will find more than 1,000 camping, climbing and cycling products on-line at RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT, INC.'s new virtual store. Billed as the first Internet outdoor equipment store fully translated and localized for the Japanese market, Japan.REI.com has one section for first-quality products and another for bargains. It is REI's first attempt to target a specific national market. Japanese cybershoppers placed about half of all international orders REI received last year via the Internet, according to officials of the Seattle company. REI also is in the process of building its first retail store in Japan, where it has more than 86,000 members (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 351, December 1998, p. 16).
With the help of DIRECTADVICE.COM CORP., the consumer finance subsidiary of SOFTBANK CORP. launched an on-line personal financial planning service. E+ADVISOR CO., LTD. adds another piece to what some observers are calling Softbank's Internet zaibatsu (conglomerate). Originally scheduled to open its "doors" in December (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, June 1999, p. 23), the virtual financial adviser is 67 percent owned by SOFTBANK FINANCE CORP. Hartford, Connecticut-based DirectAdvice.com has a 22 percent interest in the start-up, with the remaining 11 percent parceled out to MICROSOFT CORP. and an undisclosed number of local firms. In addition to offering personalized financial advice, the E+Advisor Web site will provide links to other financial-related sites operated by Softbank affiliates, such as on-line broker E*TRADE GROUP, INC.
Software from PEGASUS SYSTEMS, INC. will power a full-service Internet travel agency run by a new RECRUIT CO., LTD. company. The Dallas producer of transaction processing and e-commerce services programs will work with RECRUIT ISIZE TRAVEL CO., LTD. to offer real-time reservations at more than 30,000 hotels in 165 countries. Recruit Isize Travel will translate information on about 3,000 of the hotels from English into Japanese. Airline and train reservations as well as 40,000 package tours also will be handled by Pegasus' adapted Private-Label Reservation Service.
The pairing of MICROSOFT CORP., NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. and NTT DATA CORP. on a possible Internet-based service that will send out bills and statements and allow customers to make payments on-line is another example of how Japan's Internet world is changing. The service, which could start as soon as next spring, would enable companies like banks, credit-card issuers and utilities, NTT included, to save part of the huge amount of money that they now spend to mail bills and statements, although participating companies would have to pay a fee. For consumers, the service would provide the convenience of being able to pay bills through the Internet as well as viewing account and other financial information in real time. They also would not have to buy stamps. More than 20 major businesses have expressed initial interest in the prospective service, including BANK OF TOKYO- MITSUBISHI, LTD., DAI-ICHI KANGYO BANK, LTD., SUMITOMO CREDIT SERVICE CO., LTD., JCB CO., LTD., KANSAI ELECTRIC POWER CO., INC. and OSAKA GAS CO., LTD.
To resolve issues of hardware and software compatibility that might narrow a merchant's e-customer base, PREVIEW SYSTEMS, INC. and JUSTSYSTEM CORP. have agreed to codevelop a localized Java client for the Cupertino, California firm's ZipLock System for selling digital goods over the Internet. The multiplatform Java client will allow customers to electronically rent, "try and buy" and purchase products like software, music and videos from on-line stores. ZipLock provides easy-to-use electronic delivery, license management and security for digital goods. The Japanese version should debut in the third quarter of 1999, with versions in 14 other languages appearing in 2000.
As e-commerce proliferates, Web masters are demanding tools to analyze the performance of their virtual stores. One such tool, ACCRUE SOFTWARE, INC.'s Insight package, now is available through SUMISHO ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. The Fremont, California firm's e-business analysis solution logs information about visitors to a Web site as well as collects and tracks metrics on site content usage and effectiveness. Sumisho Electronics not only sells the Accrue Insight package and provides complete support services, but it also has agreed to work with Accrue to develop a fully localized version by the end of this year.
E-brand building and e-business services are now available locally from MODERN MEDIA.POPPE TYSON, INC.'s new subsidiary. MODEM MEDIA JAPAN K.K. offers e- commerce platform development, digital design, strategic marketing and media services to small and large companies alike, leveraging off its Norwalk, Connecticut parent's global office network. It got off to a fast start, signing up IBM JAPAN LTD., GENERAL ELECTRIC CO.'s subsidiary as well as several Japanese clients and boosting its payroll to 26 from the original 19.
In line with the reorganization of its U.S. operations, MICROSOFT CORP. has restructured and consolidated its Internet-related business units in Japan. Aimed at boosting its local market share for e-business services, the software powerhouse merged its Microsoft Network unit with its Internet division, creating a unified shop that offers both consumer and business services. One of the new operation's near-term goals is to open an Internet portal this fall in cooperation with MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. Panasonic Hi-Ho Powered by MSN.
The battle for primacy in data-via-the-Net software is boiling down to a one-on-one contest. In one corner, E-PARCEL, LLC continues to build a showcase installation of its e-Parcel Enterprise Solution at TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.'s production control division. The Newton, Massachusetts firm's software automatically and securely delivers technical, product and inventory information within the division as well as to more than 2,000 parts vendors and manufacturers. To help outsiders link to Toyota's e-Parcel system, the two companies have released a set of cobranded application programming interfaces, e-Parcel API.
Separately, E-PARCEL, LLC announced that TOSHIBA INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORP. and TOYO INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. have become authorized integrators of its Internet data-delivery software and services. The new partners will create custom middleware that connects legacy information systems to e-Parcel's data-delivery service using e-Parcel APIs and a variety of programming and scripting languages. Toshiba Information Systems and Toyo Information Systems will outsource the actual data-delivery work to e-Parcel, a move that will help to speed the setup process.
In a third deal, HAKUHODO INC. chose E-PARCEL, LLC's eponymous software to deliver its digital publications to subscribers. The number-two Japanese advertising agency posts content developed by more than 10 top publishers on its e-STAGE Franken Web site and uses e-Parcel Enterprise Solution and e-Parcel e-Logistics Engine to automatically distribute digital magazines as large as 40 MB. Hakuhodo also is using e-Parcel SmartLoad/Agent to deliver digital content securely to nonsubscribers and to track the entire transaction.
Finally, E-PARCEL, LLC and DAI NIPPON PRINTING CO., LTD. have launched a cobranded service to provide digital data delivery to DNP customers. The world's largest commercial printing company first is offering DNP e-Parcel Service to its financial and insurance company customers, leveraging its huge inventory of digital documents developed specifically for these industries. DNP expects the service to be popular because of several features of the e-Parcel software. It authenticates recipients, tracks key data-delivery metrics, automatically resumes data transfers interrupted by communications problems and is not limited by a maximum data-file size.
Fighting back, Redwood City, California-based TUMBLEWEED SOFTWARE CORP. announced that its Integrated Messaging Exchange package has been selected by HIKARI TSUSHIN, INC. as the core of its new "epost" secure electronic messaging service for customers of its Hitmail service. Epost allows users to send a digital file of any size and content over the Internet in a secure, encrypted, password-protected format. The fast-growing "virtual" Internet services provider no doubt chose Tumbleweed's solution in part because it is an investor in the Redwood City, California company (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 8).
TUMBLEWEED SOFTWARE CORP.'s subsidiary also has two new secure messaging applications on the market. IME for Financial Services, an IME variant, makes it a snap for companies to integrate secure Internet messaging with common financial services applications and processes, thanks to its many prewritten middleware modules and scripts. Also available is the latest update of Tumbleweed's Posta universal, secure document-delivery software for ISPs and other large network operators. The ISP version of Posta 3.1J, available through HIKARI TSUSHIN, INC., costs $231,400; the client-side version is priced between $34,200 and $90,100.
EGROUPS.COM, the leading American Internet-based group communication services company, has opened a subsidiary in Tokyo and unveiled Japanese-language versions of its full line of on-line services. With 6 million U.S. subscribers and 220,000 affinity groups already running, the San Francisco firm expects the estimated 17 million Japanese on-line to easily find people with similar interests. If not, they can start their own eGroup using the service's integrated group e-mail, group calendar, group chat and shared information management applications.
To help maintain its membership among the top three Internet sites in Japan, INFOSEEK CORP. acquired DIGITAL GARAGE INC., the operator of its Internet search service since it went live in February 1997. The $6 million buyout will add 30 employees, experienced management and the many relationships developed by Digital Garage over the years to Infoseek's local presence, which now takes the form of a wholly owned subsidiary. Sunnyvale, California-based Infoseek, the developer of the GO Network, is part of the WALT DISNEY CO. empire.
Sensing potentially huge sales of its digital photography and processing software in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, PHOTO ACCESS CORP. opened an office in Tokyo to provide sales and support for local customers and partners. The Mountain View, California firm also contracted with two companies to help it tap the demand for Internet solutions for digital photography. Photo Access will rely on SCRIBE INC. to distribute its digital imaging platform in Japan and in neighboring countries and on AXIS CORP. for systems engineering and support services. When built into digital cameras, Photo Access' PhotoChip know-how makes it easy to transfer images to the Internet for "developing," editing and sharing.
F5 NETWORKS, INC. of Seattle and INFOLIBRIA, INC. of Waltham, Massachusetts have both selected TOKYO ELECTRON LTD. to distribute their programs. F5 Networks' BIG/ip load-balancing software, which costs $39,700, and InfoLibria's $71,100 DynaCache distributed network caching package allow ISPs to better handle peak loads, provide quality-of-service guarantees and maintain high system reliability. TEL expects sales of these products and related services to hit $41.3 million over three years. NTT INTERNATIONAL CORP. also sells and supports BIG/ip as well as other software from F5 Networks.
To ensure that it holds on to the top spot in the standards-based messaging market, SENDMAIL, INC. picked ASCII NETWORK TECHNOLOGY, INC., TRANS COSMOS INC. and TURBOLINUX, INC. (formerly Pacific HiTech K.K.) as strategic partners. ASCII Network Technology will focus on customers running Windows NT machines, selling and supporting Sendmail for NT. Trans Cosmos will do the same for Unix- based shops, promoting Sendmail Pro. TurboLinux, the largest Asia-focused provider of software and services for the open-source Linux operating system, will handle the Emeryville, California firm's Sendmail Pro for Linux. Sendmail for NT already has been localized; Sendmail Pro's turn will come this fall.
WHITE PINE SOFTWARE, INC. has chosen TOMEN ELECTRONICS CORP. as the master distributor in Japan for its videoconferencing-over-Internet software. TEC will localize the Nashua, New Hampshire company's MeetingPoint server package for IP- Video sessions, which lists for $11,400, and will host a Japanese version of White Pine Cafe, a virtual hangout where Web surfers can talk face-to-face. Also in the product lineup will be a localized CUSeeMe package. It allows PC users to experience IP-Video for only $115.
To expand the market for its public-key infrastructure security system for Internet communications and transactions, ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES INC.'s distributor a joint venture with 16 local firms (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 21) has forged marketing and sales agreements with FUJITSU, LTD., NCL COMMUNICATIONS K.K. and JET FORM JAPAN K.K. Fujitsu will bundle the Richardson, Texas firm's PKI package with its Info Directory v1.0 directory-services software. NCL will embed Entrust's PKI into its Active Card solution. And Jet Form will integrate the security software with its Web-based system for creating and distributing electronic and printed forms.
San Francisco's TURBOLINUX, INC. rolled out a new release of its self-named version of the Linux open-source operating system. Besides supporting all the features of the latest Linux kernel, TurboLinux 2.2.9 incorporates the ATOK Japanese character converter developed by JUSTSYSTEM CORP. For $75, TurboLinux 2.2.9 buyers get support for three incidents over the first 90 days as well as a plethora of utilities and applications. .....Linux market leader RED HAT, INC. also is seeking a bigger Japanese market presence. With the help of agent ITSUTSUBASHI RESEARCH CO., LTD., the Durham, North Carolina company first will offer Red Hat Linux 6.0 English bundled with Red Hat Linux 5.2 Japanese, then roll out a Japanese version of Red Hat Linux 6.0 for servers in a month. To satisfy growing local interest in the open-source operating system, Itsutsubashi Research has teamed with THIRDWARE CO., LTD. to develop Japanese applications for Red Hat's version of the Linux OS.
Preparing for the debut of the all-new Windows 2000 operating system, COMPUWARE CORP. localized its NuMega DriverStudio development package. The suite helps developers adapt old device drivers for the new server operating system, create new ones from scratch and improve driver reliability. The subsidiary of the Farmington Hills, Michigan developer priced NuMega DriverStudio between $2,300 and $3,600.
Companies installing new hardware and software may be interested in a middleware program developed by NIHON UNISYS, LTD. SESA stitches together legacy and new systems by making it possible for older programs to exchange information with newer ones. Multimedia, messaging, network management, knowledge management and metadata features also can be grafted onto heterogeneous computing environments. These capabilities do not come inexpensively. SESA is priced from $247,000.
Also in the middleware messaging space, IBM JAPAN LTD. has released updated versions of its MQSeries family. Workflow v3.2, Integrator v2.0 and the complete MQSeries v5.1 add support for the eXtensible Markup Language and Java-based messaging services. The integrated package lists for $5,900. .....Riding on IBM JAPAN LTD.'s coattails, messaging middleware specialist MQSOFTWARE, INC. picked NIWS CO., LTD. to distribute and support its products and services in Japan. The Minneapolis company's Q Pasa! software offers configuration, performance management and monitoring of IBM Japan's MQSeries family. Tokyo-headquartered NIWS formed in 1992 by IBM Japan and NOMURA RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LTD. is Japan's top marketer of massively parallel computing systems, but it will be pushing into the enterprise application integration space with this deal.
HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. continues to develop its Java work-alike Chai software, releasing ChaiVM 3.0, a virtual machine for information appliances, and ChaiFreezeDry, a utility that allows Java programs to be used while still compressed. HP claims that ChaiVM delivers superior performance compared with SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s original Java virtual machine. Several big Japanese companies agree. HP has signed ChaiVM licensing agreements with HITACHI, LTD., OMRON SOFTWARE CORP., RYOSAN CO., LTD. and YOKOGAWA ELECTRIC CORP.
The IBM Solution Partnership Center opened by IBM JAPAN LTD. provides free technical support and compatibility testing for developers registered as members of its Solution Developer program. Based in Tokyo, the IBM SPC has 10 technicians on hand to help developers run their programs on combinations of hardware and software not just from IBM Japan but also in a multiplatform environment consisting of SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. servers and software from MICROSOFT CORP. and RED HAT, INC.
MATRIDIGM CORP. and BUSINESS BRAIN-SHOWA OTA, INC. have joined forces to offer services to evaluate the effectiveness of corporate efforts to diagnose and fix computer system issues related to the Year 2000. For fees starting at $20,700, Business Brain-Showa Ota will transfer each customer's Y2K-related programs and data to CD-ROMs for delivery to MatriDigm's San Jose, California headquarters. There, software engineers will evaluate the Y2K response and suggest improvements. The service now covers only IBM mainframes but will be expanded shortly to cover IBM-compatible systems from FUJITSU, LTD. and HITACHI, LTD.
Web-based application development software from COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. has been selected by VERTEX LINK CORP. for its push into business-to-business e-commerce services. CAI's Jasmine supports rich multimedia, secure and reliable transaction processing and comprehensive data management capabilities, making it well-suited to Vertex Link's effort to build and deploy sophisticated, visual e-commerce applications. AZEST INC., also headquartered in Tokyo, is helping the distributor of PCs and peripherals with the design and the development of its Jasmine-based applications.
IBM JAPAN LTD. is targeting a narrower slice of the application development market with the release of its Super IF-MAP Series environment for geographic information systems. The company is touting the package's ability to create customer management systems that integrate with area marketing and customer relation management efforts, all based on a geographic approach. Super IF-MAP comes in both Windows 95 and Web-based versions for $7,100. As an example of what the software can do, IBM Japan is releasing a program, the $82,600 Vehicle Routing Planner, that can plan optimal delivery routes in seconds.
Building on earlier relationships (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 25), HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has teamed with OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD., BEA SYSTEMS, INC.'s Japanese unit and HEWLETT- PACKARD SOLUTIONS DELIVERY LTD. to market Web-enabled enterprise systems. HP Japan is selling BEA's Tuxedo middleware, while HP Solutions will work with HP Japan and Oki Electric to market and develop enterprise-level products.
Putting flesh on its unique OnNet Solutions framework (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 24), NIHON UNISYS, LTD. is offering a set of task- based enterprise applications for networks running Windows NT. The modules provide end-to-end answers to such tasks as customer relations and administrative support as well as for the special needs of industries like distribution, finance, medical services and airlines. By melding mainframe technologies into its solutions, Nihon Unisys expects to improve the reliability of the PC-based Windows NT.
OnNet Solutions faces a stiff challenge from the output of a new pairing between COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. and ERNST & YOUNG CONSULTING JAPAN CO., LTD. By combining CAI's Unicenter TNG integrated enterprise management solution with EYCJ's methodologies and management know- how, the partners are ready to help Japanese companies build a borderless, Internet- based infrastructure and revamp operations to take full advantage of it. CAI and EYCJ plan to focus their initial marketing efforts on the financial services, logistics and telecommunications industries.
Separately, COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. is joining with SOFTBANK CORP. to open the Enterprise Solutions Center in Tokyo. It will assist clients to effectively apply leading-edge information technologies. Systems integrators and value-added resellers can come to ESC to buy CAI's Unicenter TNG and Jasmine products or to receive comprehensive consulting services, implementation support and technical education. The center, to be fully operational by the fall, will be located at Softbank's headquarters and will have a staff of 10 drawn from both companies. .....A potential ESC customer is YAMADA CORP., which has just deployed COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC.'s Unicenter TNG. The importer and distributor of aerospace, computer and environmental products expects the CAI software to streamline the monitoring, management and administration of its business- critical computer systems.
Enterprise application integration software developed by TSI INTERNATIONAL SOFTWARE LTD. recently was used by NOMURA RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LTD. to link the internal electronic settlement system of one of its clients with the S.W.I.F.T. global settlement network. The Wilton, Connecticut company's Mercator incorporates prebuilt, semantically correct definitions of all S.W.I.F.T. messages, not only making it easy to create a seamless interface with the worldwide payment system but also allowing changes to the definitions to be made quickly and easily. NRI developed the overall Mercator installation, while NIHON UNISYS, LTD. performed systems integration tasks. MITSUI & CO., LTD., a minority owner of Nihon Unisys, has distributed TSI's products since early 1998.
Under the motto of "access to information by Anyone, from Anywhere, at Any time and on to Anything," SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary, like its parent, introduced an architecture for a networked data center. Sun datacenter.com is a series of products and services centered around the company's top-of-the-line Starfire server. It is intended to combine the best features of mainframe-style computing with a full set of Internet features that allow information to be accessed easily by employees, customers and business partners.
To counter the onslaught of the next generation of Microsoft network software, NOVELL, INC. released at home and in Japan NDS for NT 2.0, a core service of its NetWare family. NDS for NT simplifies the task of maintaining and synchronizing multiple NT domains by unifying control through the well-developed NetWare Directory Services engine. Thanks to third-party add-ons, Novell's offering stands a good chance of staying ahead of its competition's.
Available this fall from HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. will be updates of the popular HP OpenView series of network management middleware tools. Network Node Manager 6.1 for Unix handles the configuration, performance and fault response of servers. It will list for $22,200. New to the series will be PolicyXpert 1.0, which gives network administrators tools to provide quality-of-service options to users. It will be priced around $31,400. .....In the meantime, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. gave MITSUI & CO., LTD. the right to market and distribute the new HP OpenView Triad network management package. Besides the basic Network Node Manager, the package includes NetMetrix 6.0, which monitors and analyzes transmission volume, and Service Simulator for Networks, which helps administrators reconfigure or rebuild networks. Mitsui hopes to build sales of HP OpenView Triad into a $12.4 million business the first year.
The signing of COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary brings to 10 the number of companies distributing COMPUWARE CORP.'s network management software (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 26). EcoSCOPE automatically detects and catalogs applications running on a network and how they interact with and relate to the entire network infrastructure. Based on data collected over time, EcoSCOPE can generate reports and graphs of the network's performance profile. Finally, the package monitors network service levels, alerting administrators when user-set thresholds are reached or exceeded.
SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary has updated its popular remote client control and file transfer software, pcAnywhere. The 9.0 version is aimed at reducing the cost and the effort of supporting a large number of remote clients with easier central administration, improved integration with third-party network management solutions, increased security and a broader palette of Internet-based functions. pcAnywhere 9.0 costs $140.
June was a busy month for WEBSENSE, INC. The San Diego, California company not only adopted that name (it previously was NetPartners Internet Solutions, Inc.) and expanded staffing and space, but it also lined up FORVAL CREATIVE, INC. and ALPS SYSTEM INTEGRATION CO., LTD. to market its Internet access control utility for networks. With prices starting at a very reasonable $810, WebSENSE Enterprise monitors, reports and controls access from a network to the Internet at the application level, following policies set by administrators. The WebSENSE engine's built-in data base of 350,000 Internet sites can be integrated with firewalls or proxy servers to limit a user's ability to connect to undesirable Internet locations.
A competing product suite from NOVELL, INC. BorderManager Enterprise Edition 3 focuses more attention on patrolling a network's "borders" and defending them against hostile or unauthorized intrusions. Combining firewall services, authentication routines and virtual private network modules, BorderManager controls network traffic to and from the Internet in a transparent way. Moreover, a FastCache module accelerates Web surfing for network users, and a reverse caching module does the same for visitors to a Web site within BorderManager's aegis.
The network security software market has a new competitor, NETWORK ICE, which tied up with TOYO CORP. After localizing the San Mateo, California firm's products, Toyo will sell, plan and integrate the full line, including BlackICE Pro, BlackICE Sentry and ICEcap. Together, Network ICE's products provide end-to-end intrusion detection and protection for corporate networks. .....NetProwler 3.0, written by Rockville, Maryland-based AXENT TECHNOLOGIES INC. and distributed exclusively by NISSIN ELECTRIC CO., LTD., also excels at detecting and foiling unauthorized network access. Nissin Electric hopes to sell 300 copies of the localized NetProwler a year. It is running an introductory promotion, discounting NetProwler's $9,100 price by 20 percent and offering a 50 percent discount on a companion AXENT Technologies product, the $4,300 Intruder Alert host-computer monitoring program, when both are purchased.
Complementing its WebTrends for Firewalls and VPNs package (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 23), WEBTRENDS CORP. is offering a network security analysis package through distributor ASGENT INC. WebTrends Security Analyzer v2.1 provides a comprehensive check of security protocols installed on Windows NT servers. The latest version can put servers under greater stress tests as well as launch password and other typical attacks. Asgent has priced the Portland, Oregon firm's new package at $3,300 for 250 IP addresses and at $11,100 for unlimited addresses. It is estimating annual sales at 300 copies.
A more general picture of network health can be developed using CONCORD COMMUNICATIONS, INC.'s analysis package. The Marlboro, Massachusetts firm's Network Health v4.5 not only reports network errors but also predicts them by detecting and tracking abnormalities. With Concord's help, distributor MARUBENI SOLUTIONS CORP. has completed localization of the utility, which it priced at $33,100. It has a sales goal of 50 units or $2.5 million the first year, rising to $16.5 million over three.
The subsidiary of network storage giant EMC CORP. has brought out another component of its enterprise storage family. TimeFinder for IBM-compatible mainframes helps administrators perform necessary tasks like mirroring, backing up and testing without compromising the normal operation of primary network storage resources. The package sells for $122,100.
In recognition of the key role played by the eXtensible Markup Language in e- business activity, LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP.'s subsidiary licensed a XML translator package for its flagship Notes/Domino groupware. Developed by INFOTERIA INC. of Tokyo, the software guides the user through the data translation process with a graphical user interface. XML Server for Domino works with version 4.5 and earlier and is priced at $19,800 per server. If purchased before the end of this year, Lotus will throw in a year of free maintenance.
Trying to maintain its early lead in this field, OBJECT DESIGN, INC. added a fourth distributor for its eXcelon XML application/data server (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 22). TOYO INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. hopes to add 300 units a year to eXcelon's already solid local annual sales tally.
Having demonstrated its ability to improve customer service in Japan, KOMATSU LTD. has announced plans to deploy INFORMIX CORP.'s Dynamic Server with Universal Data Option throughout its American and European operations by the end of this year. Dubbed Service Map by Komatsu, the intranet information system stores, tracks and manages complex maintenance data, including diagrams and photographs of all Komatsu construction equipment, as well as customer repair requests and service records.
Through MITSUI CHEMICALS, INC.'s distribution channels, INFORMATION MANAGEMENT RESEARCH, INC. released a localized version of its latest document and image archiving solution, Alchemy. Release 6J adds the ability to create mirror images or subsets of the master document repository in a wide variety of media, including CD-ROM and DVD-ROM. Its interface also has been improved with a panning viewer for large or magnified image files, an enhanced OCR text search engine and a more structured file/folder organization system. Mitsui Chemical, which has been distributing IMR's products since 1995 when it took a small minority position in the Englewood, Colorado firm, has high hopes for the new version of Alchemy, which is priced at $6,400.
The DiskXtender and ApplicationXtender document management and storage products developed by ONLINE TECHNOLOGY GROUP, INC. will be represented by TOYO OFFICEMATION, INC. Running under Windows NT, DiskXtender automates management of on-line network storage resources, while ApplicationXtender is a comprehensive document management package. Toyo Officemation, a subsidiary of MITSUI & CO., LTD., will localize the Bethesda, Maryland firm's products and, with input from Mitsui, develop local sales leads.
Integrated retail management software from TOMAX TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has survived a year of rigorous testing and evaluation conducted by KURT SALMON ASSOCIATES, INC. on behalf of JUSCO CO., LTD. The Salt Lake City, Utah company's RETAIL.net will be deployed as a front-end to unify and integrate existing and planned merchandising, finance and logistics packages at Jusco's 400 GMS Group stores. If this pilot implementation performs well, Jusco may deploy RETAIL.net throughout its multibrand network of 10,000 stores.
El Segundo, California-based GLOVIA INTERNATIONAL LLC a joint venture between MCDONNELL INFORMATION SYSTEMS GROUP PLC (69.5 percent) and FUJITSU, LTD. (30.5 percent) (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 8) has formed a wholly owned subsidiary to develop marketing channels for its self-named enterprise resource planning software. Glovia touts its ERP solution's multilanguage flexibility and Unix/Windows NT cross-platform nature, coupled with its ability to handle the needs of locally based, discrete manufacturing operations in the framework of a multinational company. In particular, Glovia ERP has features to meet the special needs of electronics, automotive, capital equipment, telecommunications and industrial products makers, an obviously large pool of potential customers in Japan. Glovia's subsidiary and Fujitsu plan to cooperate on marketing and support. The package also will be marketed by the subsidiaries of HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. as well as by OMRON ALPHATEC CO., LTD.
A powerful trio of American-affiliated firms the subsidiaries of ARTHUR ANDERSEN LLP and J.D. EDWARDS & CO., plus IBM JAPAN LTD. is offering ERP software and consulting services to midsize companies. Starting at $413,200 and taking as little as just four months to install, the partners' ERP package is based on AA's accounting model implemented through J.D. Edwards' software. IBM Japan is providing the hardware and setup to meet the trio's first-year sales goal of 30 contracts.
In the latest of a recent string of contract wins, PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORP. landed a $14 million order from OMRON CORP. for its Windchill product and process management software, Pro/ENGINEER computer-aided engineering package and consulting services. Web-centric Windchill will coordinate Omron's global network of manufacturing plants as well as manage ties with suppliers and customers, while Pro/ENGINEER will become the in-house standard for the development of products by Omron's social systems business unit.
VANTIVE CORP. has debuted a new version of its enterprise-class front-office suite. Vantive Enterprise v8 has many more features than the previous release, such as mobilized field service, flexible field service scheduling and dispatching, integrated inventory management, telesales and telemarketing support, customer self-service and channel management. The Santa Clara, California firm also is touting the software's tight integration among the call center, field service, sales, marketing and help-desk functions. MITSUI & CO., LTD. and FUJITSU BUSINESS SYSTEMS CO., LTD. are handling sales and support.
The latest version of MOSAIX, INC.'s customer relationship management package is available through NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP. The $138,200 ViewStar 5.0 handles customer calls in almost any media telephone, e-mail, interactive Web site and paper documents and integrates them with the company's knowledge base to develop individualized responses.
Telephone-based customer relationship management could be revolutionized by a speech-recognition system codeveloped by NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS and OMRON CORP. The duo have grafted the Menlo Park, California firm's Nuance 6 recognition server software onto Omron's interactive voice response platform, creating the first natural-language speech-recognition system for Japanese. In its first real application at a Tokyo financial services company described only as large, the V- Commerce system recorded accuracy rates of better than 95 percent, helping to speed the routing of customer calls.
Customer-call routing software from IEX CORP. of Richardson, Texas is available through TELEPHONY INC. Although less technically dazzling than V-Commerce, the client-server TotalView Workforce Management integrates forecasting, scheduling, daily management, long-term staff planning, data base administration, team or office analysis, and activity reporting and analysis. Telephony not only will sell and support the IEX package but will offer training services as well. A basic 150-agent license for TotalView Workforce Management starts at $82,600.
IFS INTERNATIONAL, INC. has licensed its TPII electronic fund transfer management package to VISA INTERNATIONAL INC. for use in a large-scale smart-card test underway in the trendy Shibuya area of Tokyo (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 15). TPII supports Visa cash cards, Visa smart cards and multifunction cards, allowing customers to pay for goods and recharge their cards with yen at a wide range of locations, including point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines and customer service desks.
HYPERION SOLUTIONS CORP.'s subsidiary has entered into an alliance with the affiliates of four major accounting firms to promote sales of its financial management analysis software and to provide consulting services. BUSINESS BRAIN-SHOWA OTA, INC., DELOITTE TOHMATSU CONSULTING CO., DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU, KPMG CONSULTING CO. and PRICEWATERHOUSE CONSULT-ANTS CO. will help clients rationalize their business operations and examine M&A opportunities using the Sunnyvale, California firm's $82,600 Hyperion Enterprise analysis package (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 27). The other Big Five accounting firm, ASAHI & CO. ARTHUR ANDERSON, already sells and supports Hyperion Enterprise.
An immersive virtual reality training system has been developed by EON REALITY, INC. and VIRTUAL REALITY CENTER OF YOKOHAMA, INC. Based on the Troy, Michigan firm's EON Studio, EON Assembly is tailored to the specific needs of assembly lines. Running on Windows-based PCs, the $23,600 package can conduct several virtual training sessions simultaneously, yet it allows each trainee to study at his or her own pace, repeating exercises as often as desired. The partners initially have targeted automotive and electronics makers, hoping to sell 20 systems the first year.
Digital video editing software developer DIGITAL ORIGIN, INC. has signed TOWA INTERNATIONAL CORP. to distribute and support its professional DV products. The Mountain View, California company offers a complete line of cross-platform DV products, including still capture, motion capture, nonlinear editing and postproduction. .....Already well-represented in this part of the market, AVID TECHNOLOGY, INC.'s subsidiary has launched SOFTIMAGE|DS 2.1. For $200,000, buyers get a turnkey system that performs multistream, nonlinear composite editing of noncompressed video, thanks to its built-in support for very high-speed Fibre Channel storage systems and multiple 500-MHz Pentium III processors.
A new family of business graphics programs is on the market from MICROGRAFX, INC.'s subsidiary. The Richardson, Texas firm's iGraphics Professional helps users create business process diagrams, structured diagrams and visual models through artificial intelligence that tries to anticipate the next step or task in a diagram. It costs $730. The $2,500 iGraphics Process performs modeling and simulation of business operations through dynamic diagrams, allowing managers to pinpoint problems and improve process management.
MICROSOFT CORP.'s local arm has released in Japanese Office 2000 for preinstallation by 13 or so PC makers. The very popular office suite features tight integration with Internet functions and offers many advanced features in anticipation of the release of Microsoft's next-generation operating system, Windows 2000. Four versions of Office 2000 are available: Standard ($450), Professional ($535), Premium ($620) and Developer ($785).
Aiming at the nonprofessional digital imaging market, IBM JAPAN LTD. has put out a program that can adjust image colors, cut, paste and perform other editing functions for just about $100. Some special effects are built in, such as making an image appear as if it were taken underwater. For another $50, IBM Japan will bundle a Web site construction program, helping users to post their edited images on the Internet.
For more advanced digital shutterbugs, ATOMIC POWER CORP. released through NOVATEC CORP. two plug-ins for the popular Adobe After Effects package that deliver eye-popping special effects. The $975 Evolution 1.0 offers three such effects: Multiplane, which produces appropriate shadows cast by objects in various layers of an image; Foam, which creates realistic animations of flows and collisions based on physical rules; and Shatter, which extrudes layers in 3D, textures them and then explodes them like glass shards or according to user-defined patterns. The other plug- in, Psunami 1.0, has generated many special effects in movies. This $745 software simulates the behavior of water and oceans in a super-realistic fashion.
ACTIVISION INC. has teamed with SME INTERMEDIA INC. to bring all its computer games to local buyers. SME Intermedia, a SONY CORP. company, will translate the Santa Monica, California company's games into Japanese and distribute them to a wide range of retail outlets. The first release will be Fighter Squadron, which will cost around $65. SME Intermedia expects to sell 10,000 copies of this game by yearend. Before then, it will have localized versions of Heretic II and Asteroids on the market.
For Japanese devotees of the Macintosh family of computers, MICROMAT, INC. of Windsor, California is offering a new version of its powerful TechTool Pro diagnostic and troubleshooting utility. Version 2.6, which lists for about $150, supports the latest Macintosh hardware and system software. Included is a quarterly newsletter to keep users abreast of the latest hardware and software issues.
Through its subsidiary, SOLIDWORKS CORP. introduced a new version of its midrange CAD program. SolidWorks 99 boasts more than 150 customer-driven enhancements and innovations, giving engineers simple but powerful tools and an easy migration path from 2D to 3D designs. SolidWorks 99 goes for roughly $8,100. The Concord, Massachusetts firm simultaneously introduced SolidWorks Piping, which includes a vast library of fittings and designs, and XChange Works, which imports many data formats into the SolidWorks environment.
Aimed at all sizes of manufacturers, ESPIRIT 99 by DP TECHNOLOGY CORP. uses the Windows 95/98/NT graphical user interface to make programming of CNC devices a snap. The latest version, available through SUMITOMO METAL SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT CO., LTD., has 250 more features than its predecessor, including knowledge-based machining and adaptive feature recognition. Depending on the size of the company and level of after-sales support, SMSD has priced the Camarillo, California firm's product at $9,900 to $26,400. It hopes to sell as many as 250 systems a year.
IMAGING TECHNOLOGY INC. is offering its adaptive pattern locating tool to manufacturers through ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. SmART Search uses AI to guarantee precision in alignment, registration and inspection applications under a wide range of conditions. The $6,200 package also has a Pattern Training Wizard to speed up the pattern training process, plus tools to handle a wide range of lighting conditions. It has the smarts as well to deal with missing features or patterns.
Market newcomer NEO LINEAR, INC. appointed SOLITON SYSTEMS K.K. to distribute and support its NeoCell electronic design automation package. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania firm's $223,100 tool brings automation to the design of mixed-signal analog cells, a process previously done solely by hand. NeoCell can be integrated with existing EDA tools and processes, increasing productivity while still yielding high-density designs.
High speed is one of the virtues touted by MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP. and TOSHIBA CORP. for their jointly developed Smart Design Initiative. Based on Mentor's EDA software, the system is claimed to reduce design cycles by up to 90 percent. That at least was Toshiba's experience in using SDI to come up with the TX19 series of 32-bit RISC processors for its consumer electronics and mobile communications products.
To fulfill its "start with the end in mind" design principle, AVANT! CORP. is offering Nova-Explore-RTL to electronics makers. By keeping the end goal in mind and looking at a chip design from a holistic standpoint, the $54,500 program allows engineers to spot potential problems early in the process. At the same time, the program creates Register Transfer Level code directly, shortening the design process. Nova- ExploreRTL is distributed by SOLITON SYSTEMS K.K.
C LEVEL DESIGN, INC. tapped SEIKO INSTRUMENTS, INC. as the exclusive distributor of its EDA solutions, which are aimed primarily at central processing unit and system-on-a-chip applications. SII also will provide engineering support, user training and technical assistance. The San Jose, California firm's first high-level synthesis design tool available in Japan is System Compiler. Normally priced at $103,300, it is being marketed at an introductory price of $41,300 until March 2000. SII hopes that this pricing and System Compiler's contribution to developing complex products faster will allow it to sell 30 copies a year.
With the help of distributor MARUBENI SOLUTIONS CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 350, November 1998, p. 27), AXIS SYSTEMS, INC. has landed a key customer for its EDA tools. HITACHI, LTD. will install the Sunnyvale, California firm's Xcite-1000 in its Systems LSI design process. Xcite-1000 is tailored specifically to improve the verification process of SoC designs, handling chips with up to 4 million gates and offering a software simulator that addresses behavioral, register-transfer level and gate-level issues.
The world leader in EDA tools, CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC., has developed a package that completely automates the verification of hardware/software designs, in the process boosting productivity compared with previous solutions that required many operations to be done manually. Capable of dealing with chip designs with line geometries as small as 0.18 micron, Affirma should be available by yearend. In Japan, the standard configuration will cost $74,400. A high-end version will be priced at $176,600.
Pleasanton, California-based INFOIMAGING TECHNOLOGIES INC. has licensed its fax and communications software to NTT ELECTRONICS CORP. for use in its new RZ SSB digitally enhanced, narrowband mobile communications system. ITI's software can send and receive transmissions from ordinary fax machines, adapting automatically to the weak or degraded signals common in mobile radio transmissions. The software also integrates error-correcting and compression technologies to further enhance reliability and speed. The Maritime Safety Agency already has deployed ITI's software throughout its coastal patrol system.
The explosive growth of Japan's digital wireless device market is attracting many U.S. software firms. For example, PHONE.COM, INC. (formerly Unwired Planet, Inc.) licensed its microbrowser to NEC CORP., which will build the software into its next generation of mobile phones. Based on the Wireless Application Protocol v1.1, the Redwood City, California company's UP.Browser will bring many more features to wireless Web browsing than are possible with current technology. The new line of NEC handsets, based on TDMA (time-division multiple access) technology, are scheduled for availability in the first quarter of 2000.
NEC CORP. also licensed software from TEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, INC. for incorporation in new digital cellular phones based on the GSM (global system for mobile communications) standard. The Seattle company's T9 Text Input software will allow users to enter information into the handsets by tapping just one key per letter, character or stroke compared to several key strokes needed with current keypad input systems. By comparing key strokes with an internal linguistic data base, the T9 software can determine the user's intended input. NEC is planning several new services based on this single-stroke input system, including a short messaging service. Its first implementation of T9 will be in Chinese. However, Tegic Communications is working on a Japanese-language version.
CENTURA SOFTWARE CORP. opened a wholly owned subsidiary to promote sales of the embedded micro-data base and connectivity products for intelligent devices that it gained through its just-completed acquisition of Seattle's RAIMA CORP. Tokyo-based CENTURA EMBEDDED SYSTEMS K.K. will target the markets for set-top boxes, industrial controllers, consumer electronics appliances, Internet appliances and any other device requiring sophisticated data management capabilities. The former Raima's Raima Database Manager and Velocis Database Server complement Redwood Shores, California-headquartered Centura's embedded data base products.
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