On-line auctions are one of the latest Internet trends in Japan, and several American companies hope to capitalize. For instance, YAHOO! CORP.'s subsidiary set up a free, interactive auction site that features local merchandise and multilingual capabilities. Thus, sellers and buyers can find each other regardless of language differences. Including the new Japan and Singapore services, Yahoo! has set up 10 local auction sites around the world over the past five months, all of which are interlinked. Moreover, the Santa Clara, California-based Internet services pioneer launched a charity auction site in Japan to raise funds for local nonprofit organizations.
Auction sites for business-to-business commerce also are red-hot. INFORMATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL-DENTSU, LTD. has created an open procurement system that digitizes negotiations between manufacturers and suppliers via an on-line auction system. SONY CORP., the system's first outside customer, sources parts and materials for its acclaimed VAIO line of PCs using the Trading Process Network. ISID charges $13,900 a month to buyers for TPN access and the same fee on an annual basis to sellers. The joint venture between GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. and DENTSU INC. is hustling to sign up 10 buyers and 1,000 suppliers by March 2000 to entrench itself before competing systems from FUJITSU, LTD. and NEC CORP. come on- line.
A B2B e-commerce package is being offered by COMMERCE CENTER K.K., a new company led by Tampa, Florida-based TRADEX TECHNOLOGIES INC. (formerly TRADE'EX Electronic Commerce Systems, Inc.). Commerce Center 6.0, which has a proven track record in the United States, has been fully translated into Japanese. TRADEX's partners include three resellers of the package CANON SALES CO., INC., MITSUI & CO., LTD. and a TOYO ENGINEERING CORP. affiliate plus CRAYFISH CO., LTD. and JAFCO CO., LTD. The joint venture is looking for annual revenues of $27.8 million in two years. NTT COMMUNICATIONS CORP. already has decided to deploy Commerce Center 6.0J (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 25).
After six months of work (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 23), Portland, Oregon's VIRTUAL RELOCATION.COM, INC. and partner NISSHO IWAI CORP. have launched their on-line moving and residential relocation service. HikkoshiGuide.com is entirely in Japanese and its content is localized. The guide includes such information as banking, dining and recreational resources near each listed location. HikkoshiGuide.com is being marketed by Nissho Iwai and its many affiliates. It also is available on the trader's intranet. Virtual Relocation.com and Nissho Iwai now are seeking partners in the travel, hospitality and recreation industries to add exclusive content to HikkoshiGuide.com.
With on-line sales of new and used vehicles in the pipeline (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 360, September 1999, pp. 22-23), AUTOBYTEL.COM INC.'s Japanese arm is ready to take the next logical step: on-line sales of parts and accessories. To do this, it enlisted the help of NETVILLAGE CO., LTD., which already operates a site providing information on some 40,000 automotive-related products. Visitors to the Autobytel site will be able to buy listed merchandise through dealers that participate in the Autobytel network. The parts and accessories site should be up and running next spring.
E-PARCEL, LLC continues to expand the list of resellers for its self-named Internet data- delivery system. HITACHI CHUBU SOFTWARE, LTD. joins 26 other companies (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 26) that market, customize, integrate and support the e-Parcel Delivery Service, e-Parcel API software and e-Parcel Mini Virtual Warehouse data-delivery server. Hitachi Chubu Software said that it chose the Newton, Massachusetts firm's solution because of its uninterruptible/autoresuming data transfers and its real-time data delivery tracking, among other features.
IBM JAPAN LTD. and development partner KIMEC CORP. are ready to challenge E-PARCEL, LLC with a digital content-delivery system that features strong intellectual property protection. Written in cooperation with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Digital Content Market uses IBM Japan's electronic watermark know-how to prevent pirating of copyrighted material. A powerful server installed at Kimec's headquarters in Kobe acts as a go-between among content creators and Internet customers, allowing digital information to be exchanged and distributed securely. Kimec is owned by IBM Japan, KOBE STEEL, LTD., NEC CORP. and other local firms.
A new entry in the back-end e-commerce payments processing market is the team of HEWLETT- PACKARD CO.'s subsidiary and DATA APPLICATIONS CO., LTD. The Tokyo partner is responsible for localizing HP's Integrated Payment Solution, which already is in use at financial institutions and retailers in the United States and Europe. Data Applications' main job is to make IPS compatible with Japan's unique interbank and credit-card settlement systems.
In what is likely to be the first of many such deals, MTCI CO., LTD. has formed a company with VERITEL CORP. to market and support the Chicago firm's voice-recognition software. The Japanese ISP's new HYBRID CORP. unit owns 75 percent of the Veritel joint venture. Hybrid is actively seeking out other small, Internet-related American companies that want to establish a presence in Japan but lack the cash and experience to do so. Like a venture capital fund, MTCI will help these businesses open subsidiaries and market their Internet products in exchange for an equity stake in the new units.
MICROSOFT CORP. and MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. have established a Web portal where Internet surfers quickly can find a wide range of services and products. Trying to unseat established portal operators such as YAHOO! CORP.'s subsidiary, the pair is emphasizing their unique content, which includes specialty products and regional foodstuffs. The portal also gives users quick access to an on-line shopping mall with more than 250 retailers. Following an early summer tie-up (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 26), Microsoft and MEI will continue to integrate the software powerhouse's Internet know-how with the consumer electronic giant's broad range of Internet services.
Despite having fought hammer and tongs for dominance of Japan's word-processing market, MICROSOFT CORP. and JUSTSYSTEM CORP. have inked a pact to codevelop an Internet search engine specializing in corporate data. In early 2000, Justsystem plans to publish a family of natural-language data base applications that work with Microsoft's Exchange messaging software. The ConceptBase series will allow company employees to quickly access and analyze information available over the Internet and to share large amounts of in-house corporate data. Justsystem's customers urged it to come up with search software compatible with Microsoft's offerings.
AMERICA ONLINE, INC. has debuted a new version of its wildly popular AOL Instant Messenger software for Japan. AIM 2.0J allows users to exchange messages over the Internet without bothering with e-mail. They also can immediately see which of their Internet buddies is logged on and ready to "chat." AIM 2.0J can be downloaded for free from AOL's local Web site. It is available in both Windows and Macintosh versions.
Seeking a big slice of Japan's Web-hosting outsourcing business, VERIO INC. and NTT COMMUNICATIONS CORP. have forged an alliance that pairs the Englewood, Colorado firm's top- tier Web hosting services with NTT Communications' marketing muscle. The two companies currently are working on a new data center at NTT Communications headquarters in Tokyo the vital back-end operation to launch the Powered by Verio Web-hosting service in the spring of 2000. NTT Communications owns 10 percent of Verio, which it acquired through a $100 million investment in May 1998.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is offering a specialized Web service: integrating, operating and maintaining corporate e-mail systems. It is using its parent's Smart Internet Messaging Solution, which is built on SOFTWARE.COM, INC.'s InterMail e-mail server. It offers carrier- scale solutions to ISPs and operators of other large networks. The e-mail system also integrates tightly with HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s OpenView enterprise-level network and computing resources management platform.
Another specialized piece of software for ISPs a streaming video server is available from PICTURETEL CORP.'s Osaka office. Priced from $17,200 to $31,900, PictureTel 330 NetConference Multipoint Server easily schedules, enables and manages virtual conferences held over the Internet or the corporate intranet. Built on Windows NT and employing the H.323 protocol, the server can link up to 24 clients with full audio, video and T.120 data collaboration while still preserving critical WAN bandwidth.
CYLINK CORP. is distributing its virtual private network package through MITSUI & CO., LTD. The Santa Clara, California company's PrivateWire 2.0 integrates seamlessly with existing enterprise applications, adding the solid security, functionality and scalability needed as companies move to embrace e-commerce. PrivateWire 2.0 authenticates the identities of the parties, protects the integrity and privacy of the transaction, and completes the exchange with digital signatures. Mitsui has priced a 50-user license at $25,800.
Claiming a global first, ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES INC. said that it digitally "signed" an agreement with SECOM CO., LTD. authorizing the big Tokyo security services provider to represent its new Entrust.net business unit. Officials of the Plano, Texas firm used the deal to showcase their digital signature technology as well as Entrust.net's digital certificate services for e-commerce. The entire signing was conducted electronically, with both Entrust Technologies and Secom officials attaching their digital signatures to the electronic legal contract and verifying that the party at the other end of the transaction was indeed who they claimed to be. Secom is the lead Japanese investor in the joint venture that markets Entrust Technologies' products (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 21).
The Tokyo office of SECURITY DYNAMICS TECHNOLOGIES, INC. is offering an alternative enterprise-strength security solution. Developed by RSA SECURITY, INC. (the name of the now- integrated Security Dynamics and RSA Data Security, Inc.), the RSA Keon 5 public-key infrastructure family can handle everything from single, stand-alone certificate authority services to a highly scalable, comprehensive PKI system. In particular, Keon 5 Advanced PKI supports digital certificates issued by any standards-based certificate authority, thus freeing users to adopt the CA of their choice. A package that includes Keon Security Server and 500 Keon Desktop clients is priced at $138,900.
Rival VERISIGN, INC. has answered with several initiatives of its own. For starters, the Mountain View, California security software developer tied up with NEC CORP. on a new Internet security service. By combining VeriSign's OnSite PKI digital ID server software with NEC's digital certificate verification system, the service will issue digital certificates, authenticate users, encrypt data transmissions and protect on-line transactions. NEC hopes the new partnership will generate $46.3 million in sales over the next three years. .....VERISIGN, INC.'s subsidiary also has begun marketing Go Secure! for Web Applications, which confers the security of its digital certificate know-how on large-scale intranet and extranet Web applications. Unlike OnSite, which can take more than 10 days to set up digital IDs for new users, Go Secure! can generate up to a million digital IDs in a few days. It also meshes easily with existing Web applications. This makes the solution more suitable to replace less-secure, password-based systems for granting large numbers of users access to Web applications and extranet/intranet resources.
Targeting the same market segment, newcomer GRADIENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has brought its NetCrusader family of security software products for distributed computing to the Japanese market through G-LINK SYSTEM CONSULTING CORP. NetCrusader offers modules for Web-based applications, object-oriented applications using CORBA (common object request broker architecture), and Windows and Unix applications employing DCE (distributed computing environment). NetCrusader Commander is a graphical tool that manages users, groups and access privileges for all NetCrusader products. G-Link not only will handle Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Gradient's NetCrusader in Japan but in China and Hong Kong as well.
VERISIGN, INC. has licensed its Global Server ID package to six financial institutions for installation on their servers that process on-line trades and transactions. DAIWA SECURITIES CO., LTD., MARUHACHI SECURITIES CO., LTD., NIKKO BEANS INC., NOMURA ASSET MANAGEMENT CO., LTD., NOMURA SECURITIES CO., LTD. and YAMATANE SECURITIES CO., LTD. will be able to reassure their clients that any on-line transaction made through their servers will be protected by VeriSign's 128-bit encryption technology. .....VERISIGN, INC.'s subsidiary announced in addition that IBM JAPAN LTD. had licensed the Global Server ID software. IBM Japan is using the digital certificate system to add 128-bit security to the portfolio of electronic banking services being marketed to regional financial institutions (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 360, September 1999, p. 13).
Also taking advantage of Washington's recent decision to ease controls on the export of advanced encryption technologies, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s subsidiary is bolstering its mix of utilities for networks and individual users. Besides antivirus software and network management programs, NAI will begin offering before yearend its PGP (pretty good privacy) Data Security public-key encryption system. To help double sales in Japan to a projected $92.6 million in 2000, the local NAI office recently added SOFTBANK CORP. to its 100-strong force of sales affiliates. It also set up a Network Associates Solution Center at the big software distributor.
Similarly, COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. and Tokyo's ASGENT INC. have established a center to promote and expand sales of CAI's security products. The CA Security Solution Center, located in Tokyo, provides information on the Islandia, New York firm's entire line of security software, including SessionWall-3, AutoSecure (SeOS) server, InoculateIT and GuardIT. The center also offers consulting, education and technical support services. At the same time, Asgent became the first Japanese company to distribute CAI's eTrust end-to-end e- business security solution. It also is handling SessionWall-3 and AutoSecure (SeOS), mainly distributing these packages to other companies. In time, Asgent will carry CAI's full line of security-related products.
The Japanese market continues to clamor for Linux software, and several firms have stepped in to deliver. For instance, CALDERA SYSTEMS, INC. is focusing on the corporate market by teaming with FUJITSU, LTD. The big computer maker has agreed to offer the Orem, Utah company's OpenLinux 2.3 operating system on its entire line of servers, including the GranPower series. Fujitsu will provide pre- and post-sale hardware support and front-line technical help. Caldera will train Fujitsu's support team and act as behind-the-scenes technical experts. The two also will work to make Caldera's Linux Curriculum available throughout Japan. In addition, they will begin to codevelop a range of Internet appliances that operate under the open-source operating system.
While not as glamorous as the operating system itself, Linux utilities are no less vital to wide use of the operating system. COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP., for example, has ported its OpenPrint series of printer drivers to Linux. Its subsidiary expects the $70 utility, which links Linux- based PCs to a variety of printers, to encourage corporations to adopt the Unix variant.
A direct sales operation and dependable after-sale support are even more critical to Linux's acceptance in Japan's business world, at least according to Linux market leader RED HAT, INC. After terminating its sales contract with ITSUTSUBASHI RESEARCH CO., LTD., the Durham, North Carolina company established a wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo just for these reasons. The new unit will expand both its staff and its office space. One of its first moves was to release a $95 update of the Red Hat Linux operating system. In time, the subsidiary plans to offer complete Linux solutions to customers.
LINUXCARE, INC., a provider of Linux technical services via e-mail, the Web and 24x7 telephone support, also is strengthening its local backup for the open-source OS. The San Francisco company has added support for LASER5 Linux 6.0, a successful homegrown version. LASER5, spun off from ITSUTSUBASHI RESEARCH CO., LTD. in August, has shipped more than 1 million copies of its Linux variant. This past summer, Linuxcare announced a technical services agreement with an affiliate of HITACHI, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 27).
NOVELL, INC. and SOFTBANK CORP. have opened a jointly staffed marketing support center at the Japanese firm's Tokyo office. The staff of the NDS Solution Center are promoting sales of Novell Directory Service and other network software. The team faces a tough challenge from the imminent debut of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Active Directory Service, which will be part of the new Windows 2000 family of operating systems.
Clearly signaling its intent to win more business in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, TIVOLI SYSTEMS INC. opened an Asian Pacific software R&D center at its Tokyo subsidiary. The new facility will collaborate with local customers to develop products specifically for the Japanese market. It also will accelerate localization of its Austin, Texas parent's products and provide increased technical support. The research center will be connected through dedicated links with Tivoli offices in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia to provide customers in these countries with similar services.
In preparation for the March 2000 debut in Japan of SONY COMPUTER, INC.'s PlayStation2 home video game console, METROWERKS CORP. released a version of its popular CodeWarrior software development kit for the new platform. CodeWarrior for PlayStation2 runs under Windows 95/98/NT and is based on the C/C++ languages. The $3,600 SDK comes with one year of technical support.
A new SDK for embedded and real-time operating system devices now is available from PHAR LAP SOFTWARE, INC. The Cambridge, Massachusetts firm's TNT Embedded ToolSuite runs on Windows machines, providing an inexpensive platform for developing embedded Windows-based software through its support for the Win32 tool set. Phar Lap also claims that its product has the only Windows-friendly real-time operating system engine, the Realtime ETS Kernel, which supports multitasking and multithreading. Also included in the ToolSuite are: a MicroWeb server, Ethernet support and modules for a file system, floating-point emulator and flash- memory management. Distributor AI CORP. has priced the SDK at $12,500. The Tokyo company hopes to sell 200 packages a year for revenues of $1.9 million.
Through distributor TOKYO ELECTRONIC DEVICE, INC., Santa Clara, California-based INTOTO, INC. has rolled out several modules that allow embedded, real-time operating systems to integrate easily with three of the latest technology standards. eFireStack and eUSBStack are ready-made frameworks for linking RTOS programs with IEEE-1394 (FireWire) and USB devices, respectively. Intoto also offers a package that gives RTOS programs the ability to conduct VPN sessions. The Yokohama company hopes to sell $4.6 million worth of Intoto software over three years.
Orienting its products to meet the software demands of e-business, INFORMIX CORP. revamped its application development platform. Informix Internet Foundation.2000 includes the Dynamic Server.2000, the J/Foundation, the Web DataBlade, the Excalibur Text DataBlade and the Office Connect modules. The software blends the Menlo Park, California firm's on-line transaction processing products with object-relational technology to reduce development cycles for Java, HTML and XML solutions. Informix's Tokyo subsidiary plans to release the application development package, which is available for Unix, Linux and Windows NT machines, in December.
Another entrant in this field, TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYMENT INTERNATIONAL, INC., has convinced two firms to adopt its Web application development solution. A unit of FUJITSU, LTD. as well as ALPHA SYSTEMS INC. will begin using the Santa Clara, California firm's E-Business Management System to put their business processes on the Web. The Fujitsu affiliate will allow customers to select, deploy and manage communications services as part of their overall network management services package, while Alpha Systems, a developer of communications software, will deliver customer services on-line. EBMS has three main modules: a development environment, a Web portal to manage operations and a portal for management tasks.
AIMAGINE GLOBAL SOFTWARE CO. has entered a third horse in this race, authorizing MITSUBISHI CORP. and that firm's SIRIUS INC. subsidiary as well as FUJITSU KEIYO SYSTEMS ENGINEERING, LTD. to distribute its Synergy family of Web-enabling business applications. Synergy rounds out the Internet/intranet menu of services and software marketed and supported by these companies with its mix of robust, richly structured and secure multitiered solutions. One of the first adopters of Synergy in Japan is NIHON KEIZAI SHIMBUN, INC., which is using the enterprise edition for companywide Internet collaboration and communications applications. Aimagine Global Software is part of Austin, Texas-based AIMGLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES.
Established Web application development suppliers are not standing still. IBM JAPAN LTD., for one, has released a new version of its popular WebSphere Studio rapid application development and server environment. Version 3 supports Java, Enterprise JavaBeans, Java servelets, Java server pages, dynamic HTML and XML with visual layout of Web pages and sites. WebSphere Studio, which costs $740, also allows integrated team development of Web projects.
Dallas-headquartered OBJECTSPACE INC. has plunged into the market for business application development software by signing TOMEN INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORP. as its distributor. ObjectSpace's Voyager and C++ tools are based entirely on Java in order to build scalable, enterprise-class applications that interface with a wide range of hardware and software. TISCO will develop Voyager-based client-server systems as well as provide before- and after-sale technical support. Voyager products are priced between $7,400 and $9,300.
Fujitsu 6680 mainframe users likely will welcome a Web-enabling tool for their applications developed by ENTERPRISELINK TECHNOLOGY CORP. The Campbell, California company's SmartTran package builds Internet-friendly interfaces on top of legacy mainframe software. Already in use at many major Japanese manufacturers and financial institutions (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 360, September 1999, pp. 25-26), FUJITSU, LTD. hopes SmartTran for 6680 will stabilize its customer base as well as give its Big Iron a key role in the rush to embrace e-commerce and boost its mainframe marketing efforts throughout Asia. ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. and NTT COMMUNICATIONS CORP. market SmartTran.
COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. has landed another customer for its enterprise IT infrastructure management solution, Unicenter TNG. NISSEN CO., LTD., a major mail-order retailer, recently transitioned its IT department from a hierarchical mainframe structure to an open, distributed environment. With its priority on reliable scheduling of product purchases and shipments, Kyoto-based Nissen chose Unicenter TNG for its ability to integrate a wide range of hardware and software and its reliability track record.
Hoping to gain mutual advantage from their strong customer bases, MICROSOFT CORP. and FUJITSU, LTD. are offering a joint enterprise information management solution. The electronics giant has used Microsoft's Systems Manager Server SDK 2.0 to port its SystemWalker EIM to the SMS environment. Together, SystemWalker for SMS can automate a wide range of IT operations, extend remote control capabilities, enhance scheduling functions, and promote system reliability and interoperability. The English-language version of the software already has been released in the United States. A Japanese edition will be available in December.
Since Big Iron mainframes are far from being dinosaurs in Japan's corporate IT world, TIVOLI SYSTEMS INC.'s subsidiary continues to roll out updated management products for S/390 machines. Tivoli Management Framework, Security Management, Service Desk v1.2, NetView, Global Enterprise Manager and Enterprise focus on the mainframe's new role as the backbone of e-commerce. The new framework and plug-ins help IT departments deliver enhanced levels of services while supporting the continuous availability of e-business applications throughout the enterprise.
CANDLE CORP.'s subsidiary is offering an alternative industrial-strength, e-business-centered set of programs for OS/390 users. The El Segundo, California firm added double-byte character set and national language support to its Omegamon II for MVS, CICS, DB2, DBCTL and IMS performance monitors, the OmegaView integration tool and the Candle Command Center for MQSeries management tool. Candle's products monitor and optimize a broad range of mainframe functions, improving system performance and reliability. The Tokyo subsidiary also offers a complete range of consulting and support services, including application integration, response- time management and messaging middleware optimization. Omegamon II for MVS goes for $60,000, while the OmegaView integration tool costs $26,200. The Candle Command Center for MQSeries management tool is priced at $9,700 for the server version and at $945 and up for each client machine.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is marketing a network-performance management solution for Windows NT systems. Listing for $9,000-plus, HP OpenView NetMetrix Performance Center monitors a company's entire LAN and WAN networks, regardless of protocol or transmission media. Assessments of network performance and status can be made in real time or as an overview of the previous 24 hours of operation.
INTEL CORP.'s marketing unit is offering PC makers a new version of the LANDesk Management Suite. Version 6.3 integrates Web tools for managing networked PCs over an intranet, automatic distribution of software to client machines, versatile tools to track and manage network resources, software metering for calculating license fees and close collaboration with antivirus utilities.
To meet the data-protection needs of continuously available systems, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. released Sun StorEdge Instant Image software. Sun Enterprise server users now can perform backups, instant data recovery, application testing and development, and data warehouse loading without impacting the full availability of the system's resources. Not only does this avoid system downtime for vital routine maintenance tasks, but it allows customers to recover from a disaster more quickly since backups can be scheduled frequently. Depending on the server, Sun StorEdge Instant Image costs anywhere from $5,600 to $92,600.
MANUGISTICS, INC.'s subsidiary has expanded its Open Application Interface family of enterprise resource planning software. To the core OAI Enterprise, which automates and optimizes supply chain management functions, Manugistics rolled out OAI/Net. This product extends the reach of the $185,200 core package throughout the Internet/intranet/extranet. The Rockville, Maryland firm hopes that its software's ability to integrate with existing off-the- shelf and industry-specific applications will appeal to customers adopting the e-business model.
In an unusual strategy to expand its business in Japan, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary agreed to provide comprehensive training in its ERP and customer relations management software to 20 engineers at CSK CORP., one of its distributors. Besides becoming familiar with the technical aspects of the software, CSK personnel will study Oracle's approach to consulting and integration services. The big systems integrator will deploy the Oracle-trained staff in its recently created Internet Solutions Division. Oracle will help the new unit get off the ground by contributing one marketing specialist to the team. CSK hopes that these moves will multiply its $4.6 million-a-year Oracle-related business tenfold within just three years.
CRM software developer RELAVIS CORP. has added a powerful marketing partner: IBM JAPAN LTD. Since the New York City company's OverQuota CRM and sales force automation package works on top of the Notes/Domino groupware suite produced by LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP., a subsidiary of IBM Japan's parent, the pairing is a natural evolution of Relavis' marketing strategy. Both IBM Japan and the local unit of Lotus Development have launched OverQuota sales campaigns, bolstering Relavis' initial marketing effort (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, pp. 27-28).
With e-businesses proliferating, NET EFFECT SYSTEMS of North Hollywood, California has teamed with CORPORATE SOFTWARE LTD. to offer customers its Internet-based Live Help customer-care service. The instant messaging-based software features skills-based routing, multisession management, real-time session escalation, transcript capture, knowledge-base integration, remote Web browser administration and solution development tools. Corporate Software a joint venture between STREAM INTERNATIONAL INC. and FUJITSU, LTD. that now has more than 400 employees at two locations in the Tokyo area has targeted the highly scalable package at large companies with global customer bases.
To protect its significant customer base, Mountain View, California-based ASPECT DEVELOPMENT, INC. strengthened the support, engineering and marketing staffs of its subsidiary and rolled out a Web-friendly version of its customer service management solution. eXplore 2000 adds tools to better manage interactions with both customers and suppliers, expanding the software's functions into another category.
Neighbor SAGENT TECHNOLOGY, INC. signed agreements with two key firms to deliver its customer service management solutions. INFORMATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL-DENTSU, LTD. and INTEC INC. are using Sagent's data warehousing solution to link back-end data resources with front-end customer relations operations. The system determines what data is appropriate for each customer, automates delivery of that information to them, and keeps management informed of trends in customer profiles and needs. Sagent and its partners are courting end-users as well as the nascent application services provider market with their CRM-oriented data warehouse service. By the end of March 2000, ISID hopes to win contracts from 10 companies to install the Sagent system.
ORACLE CORP.'s marketing unit is shipping a version of its Web-enabled Oracle8i relational data base management system for the Linux open operating system. The Japan-only Oracle8i Workgroup Server for Linux 8.1.5 will be available from NEC CORP. as well. .....Similarly, SYBASE, INC.'s subsidiary issued a new version of its RDBMS for Linux users. Adaptive Server Enterprise 11.9.2 is priced at just $2,900.
Interest in the market for data-mining and decision-support software also remains strong. SAS INSTITUTE INC.'s Tokyo office announced a marketing partnership with the data-processing outsourcing unit of TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD. The new allies will promote the Cary, North Carolina firm's SAS Enterprise Miner package to a wide range of clients. They also will offer consulting and technical support. Toppan staff will use SAS Enterprise Miner in particular to evaluate the effectiveness of a client's marketing programs.
SPOTFIRE, INC. has taken aim at the pharmaceutical market with its technical and scientific decision-support package. To give it a head start in this ambitious effort, the Cambridge, Massachusetts company picked an ITOCHU CORP. affiliate with strong ties to the industry: CTC LABORATORY SYSTEMS CORP. Spotfire's software lets researchers collaborate via the Internet and gives these virtual meetings access to the project's complete data base as well as to tools to analyze the pool of knowledge.
Continuing the drive to diversify its product lines, ORACLE CORP. has released version 6.2.1 of its Financial Analyzer. The new on-line analytical processing and decision-support tool is based on the Redwood Shores, California firm's Express Server OLAP engine. It integrates tightly with Oracle General Ledger, giving users the power to conduct complex financial planning, forecasting and reporting. The Financial Analyzer engine is priced at $23,100, while client licenses are $2,300 each. Oracle's subsidiary believes that it can sell as many as 150 packages in the first year of marketing.
The software unit of EASTMAN KODAK CO. granted exclusive distribution rights to its family of collaborative knowledge management software products to CIS CORP., the Japan marketing and training partner of EASTMAN SOFTWARE, INC. since May 1998. The Billerica, Massachusetts firm's Work Manager Suite provides out-of-the-box solutions that work on top of Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Server messaging software. CIS specializes in groupware solutions, supporting offerings from both MICROSOFT CORP. and LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP. (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 30).
A Japanese version of MAPINFO CORP.'s latest geographic information system is available from MI-TSUI ZOSEN SYSTEMS RESEARCH, INC. MapInfo Professional 5.5J can create highly detailed maps for presentation. Its output also can assist corporate decisionmaking by providing sophisticated analysis of geographic information, forming the basis for managing geographically based assets and helping to plan logistics and responses to emergencies. The subsidiary of MI- TSUI ENGINEERING & SHIPBUILDING CO., LTD. priced an upgrade from a previous version of MapInfo Professional at $1,600 and a full version at $4,400.
VISIO CORP. has updated its business graphics package for the new millennium. Visio 2000 Standard Edition produces organizational, flow and time-line charts more quickly, thanks to built-in artificial intelligence, which helps users pick the proper symbols, and a large library of templates and examples. Visio 2000 is Web-enabled, allowing on-line collaboration on projects as well as providing real-time feedback for editing. .....VISIO CORP.'s subsidiary also released Visio 2000 Technical Edition, which brings the new, Web-friendly 2000 architecture to creators of technical and engineering diagrams. A key productivity enhancement is the software's ability to create illustrations by importing engineering data from a wide range of computer-aided design packages and other data sources. An upgrade costs $275, while the full package is priced at $760. Seattle-based Visio promises to deliver shortly 2000 editions of its professional and enterprise graphics software.
An alternative graphics package from MICROGRAFX, INC. is billed as being the "Swiss Army knife" of business illustration programs. iGrafx Designer can produce business diagrams, interactive Web graphics and highly precise technical illustrations. The subsidiary of Allen, Texas Micrografx is pitching the $460 iGrafx system to the construction, automotive and electrical machinery industries, hoping to sell 10,000 copies in the first year.
SYMANTEC CORP. has refreshed its entire line of antivirus utilities for business and individual users. Norton AntiVirus Enterprise Solution, which will be released in Japan in December at $90-plus, and the $60 Norton AntiVirus 2000 can combat the latest iterations of destructive programs, such as those embedded in e-mail messages.
Embracing the Internet tidal wave, INTUIT INC. has made its best-selling QuickBooks2 accounting package more Web-friendly. Aimed at both small businesses and homes, the localized version of QuickBooks2 enables users to tap into the Web site run by BANK OF TOKYO- MITSUBISHI, LTD. to obtain financial information as well as conduct on-line banking. Users also can go directly to DAIWA SECURITIES CO., LTD.'s Web site to engage in on-line stock trading. To top it off, the new version of QuickBooks2 costs $280, or about 45 percent less than its predecessor. .....Separately, INTUIT INC.'s marketing unit will integrate its Obanto financial analysis package and Yayoi accounting software into a new product, Yayoi Pro. Intuit is realigning its small-business products under the new brand. Eventually, it will offer software to automate purchase orders, sales accounting and salary management in addition to the finance/accounting module.
MICROSOFT CORP. is not leaving this market to INTUIT INC. Later this year, the subsidiary of the software giant will release a localized version of the follow-on to Money 98. Slanted more toward home users, Money 2000 offers enhanced financial asset management tools and direct links to investment tools sponsored by Microsoft and on-line information sources created by such companies as DC CARD CO., LTD., NOMURA RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LTD., NOMURA SECURITIES CO., LTD. and SUMITOMO BANK, LTD. The new version is expected to have the same street price as Money 98, or about $110. .....The marketing arm of MICROSOFT CORP. also is selling a Japanese-language version of the new Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2000 for around $270. Besides the encyclopedia entries, the latest version includes a world atlas and a complete dictionary. Despite the significant increase in data resources, the electronic knowledge compendium still fits on one piece of media because it is published on a DVD-ROM. If the previous CD-ROM format were used, the new Encarta would require seven discs.
IBM JAPAN LTD. will collaborate with HITACHI, LTD., JUSTSYSTEM CORP. and big appliance retailer KOJIMA CO., LTD. to promote sales of the latest iteration of its ViaVoice voice- recognition software for PCs. Intended mainly for use with word-processing programs, the $90 ViaVoice Millennium boasts an improved accuracy rate of 98 percent to 99 percent and a reduced user voice-training time of 10 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes with earlier editions. The $170 Pro Millennium version allows users to direct with spoken commands almost the complete range of computer operations. Hitachi plans to integrate ViaVoice into a special version of its Flora 220MP PC for use in situations where a keyboard is impractical. Justsystem will add ViaVoice to its Ichitaro word-processing software, creating the $260 Voice Ichitaro 10 e- Talk package. Finally, Kojima and IBM Japan will develop an English-language study program that uses the speech-recognition software to check students' pronunciation.
Taking aim at the high end of the CAD software market, PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORP.'s subsidiary introduced Pro/ENGINEER 2000i. The $11,600 package has more than 500 enhancements compared with the previous edition. It changes the collaborative design process to promote excellence through object-driven design tools. Besides being completely Internet- enabled, Pro/ENGINEER 2000i employs behavioral modeling. The software starts by asking for product specifications and requirements and works backward to provide engineers with the tools that can achieve these goals.
In the midrange CAD software field, VISIONARY DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. released a kanji version of its IronCAD 2.0 solid modeling program. This is the first time that the Santa Clara, California company has offered a localized product. Exclusive distributor HITACHI ZOSEN INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 30) expects that the new version's support for Japanese, ability to run under Windows 95, 98 and NT, and price of just $7,300 will give a big boost to sales.
AUTODESK, INC. is not ignoring the low end of the CAD market. It created AutoCAD LT 2000 by paring bells and whistles from its flagship product and restricting it to two-dimensional designs. Nevertheless, Autodesk's subsidiary expects strong sales of the LT version, thanks to a low base price ($1,200), inexpensive upgrade cost ($370) and special pricing for educational institutions ($505).
In the process modeling software segment, ASPEN TECHNOLOGY, INC. has won a contract from KURARAY CO., LTD. to install its Aspen Engineering Suite at six of the Osaka manufacturer's chemicals and plastics facilities in Japan. The Cambridge, Massachusetts firm's software will help Kuraray plant engineers boost production efficiency by accurately modeling complex physical and chemical interactions. Installation of the software actually started in July. Aspen Technology's manufacturing execution software know-how already is on display at TONEN CHEMICAL CORP.'s ethylene plant in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture.
MONTEREY DESIGN SYSTEMS INC. has put its Dolphin physical design system in the rough waters of Japan's electronic design automation software market. The Sunnyvale, California firm's EDA solution is a complete and fully integrated physical design system that shortens time-to-silicon for submicron, million-gate chips. Monterey chose SOLITON SYSTEMS K.K. as its distributor. A team of 12 Soliton sales people and engineers will sell and support Dolphin to the firm's established base of customers.
With advanced wireless Internet access the latest rage in Japan, PHONE.COM, INC. announced that it has licensed its UP.Browser small-memory-footprint Web browser to 10 communications gear makers. They are: CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD., DENSO CORP., HITACHI, LTD., KYOCERA CORP., MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., NEC CORP., SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD., SHARP CORP., SONY CORP. and TOSHIBA CORP. All these firms will use the Redwood City, California firm's microbrowser to deploy Wireless Application Protocol- compatible Web browsers on their wireless phones. Before yearend, they expect to be shipping the phones to DDI CORP. and to NIPPON IDOU TSUSHIN CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 26), which are trying to catch up with NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC. and its popular iMode phone.
Equally important for wireless phone users is the ability to quickly, accurately and securely transfer data between remote servers and their handheld devices. Help is on the way. NETTECH SYSTEMS, INC. granted exclusive distribution rights to its wireless middleware to ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. That company will promote the Princeton, New Jersey firm's Smart IP and ExpressQ software to mobile phone makers, highlighting the former's automatic network reconnection feature and the latter's data transfer optimization abilities.
With major communications services providers already using its data-synchronization solution (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 29), PUMA TECHNOLOGY, INC. continues to make headway in the wireless middleware market. In its latest move, the San Jose, California company tied up with Tokyo's AICON INC. to jointly market a software development kit for Puma's Intellisync solution. The partners see a wide variety of potential customers for the automatic data-update program, ranging from businesses that need to keep in-the-field sales agents' data bases current to individuals synchronizing address lists between their home computers and cellular phones. The development kit costs $27,600, including support, training and upgrades.
An exchange rate of ¥108=$1.00 was used in this report.