Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 363, December 1999

Issue Indexaaaaa 1999 Archive Index aaaa Search aaaaa Subscriber Area

American Companies in Japan


SOFTWARE AND INFORMATION SERVICES

Although barely six months old, Internet broadcaster FOREIGNTV.COM, INC., which specializes in the production and the aggregation of global streaming media content, is moving into the Japanese market. It is forming a company with JAPAN DIGITAL PUBLISHING INC. for the on-line broadcast of primarily Japanese-language content. The New York City start-up will be in charge of designing the site, while its Japanese partner will supply the majority of the content, including music and fashion videos, cultural pieces and interviews. The local site should be up and running in February 2000. ForeignTV.com allows on-line users around the world to access whatever global information interests them whenever they want it.

CATALOG CITY, INC., which offers merchandise from hundreds of name catalog retailers at its shopping portal, is doing the groundwork for the debut of an on-line mall for catalog retailers in Japan. The Pacific Grove, California firm signed a licensing and content agreement with newly created CATALOG CITY JAPAN K.K., now a joint venture between Tokyo e-com-merce companies SUPER STAGE INC. and BC PRODUCTS, INC. Catalog City agreed to localize its interface and content as well as provide hosting and production tools. At some unspecified time, it will purchase a one-third interest in Catalog City Japan and share in the portal's revenues. The Japanese unit is in charge of signing up catalog retailers, preparing site content and providing customer support. It already has raised another $5.7 million in financing from venture-capital companies owned by SOFTBANK CORP., HIKARI TSUSHIN, INC. and other sources. Catalog City Japan hopes to go live during the second quarter of 2000.

In a major win for VIADOR, INC., the San Mateo, California company has licensed its enterprise portal software to SHISEIDO CO., LTD., which will use Viador E-Portal Suite to give its worldwide operations Web browser-based access to sales, production and inventory information. Japan's top cosmetics provider currently uses a combination of fax, e-mail and telephone services to shuttle data between and among its domestic and overseas offices. Shiseido expects its E-Portal site to streamline distribution, improve time to market for new products and reduce operating costs.

A six-way partnership hopes to be selling automotive parts and accessories over the Internet early in 2000. E-SHOPPING! CARGOODS CORP. is backed by SOFTBANK COMMERCE CORP. (46 percent), NIPPON MITSUBISHI OIL CORP. (24 percent), vehicle accessory wholesaler EMPIRE MOTOR CO., LTD. (15 percent), YAHOO! JAPAN CORP. (10 percent) and CARPOINT JAPAN K.K. (5 percent), itself a joint venture of SOFTBANK CORP. and MICROSOFT CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 26). Initially, about 200 Nippon Mitsubishi service stations in the Tokyo area will install the items that customers buy on-line. Eventually, though, the service will be offered through all 7,500 of Nippon Mitsubishi's locations nationwide. At some point, the e-Shopping! Web site will be linked with CarPoint's.

With the market for secure, corporate electronic communications expanding rapidly, TUMBLEWEED COMMUNICATIONS CORP., a major supplier of the enabling technology (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 26), sold half its subsidiary to distribution partner HIKARI TSUSHIN, INC. for $3.3 million. The joint venture plans to seek equity participation from big trading companies and systems integrators in the near future to ensure that it has the financial capability to take full advantage of developments in the secure messaging market. Last spring, Hikari Tsushin put up $14 million in venture financing for Redwood City, California-based Tumbleweed.

After just a year in business, THE PATENT & LICENSE EXCHANGE, INC. plans to expand its patent license brokering and information services to Japan via the Internet. The Pasadena, California firm thinks that Japan's rich trove of patents could be worth as much as $2 trillion in terms of licensing fees. The initial local move of the self-described first e- commerce market-maker for intellectual property rights will be to index information on patents held by 2,000 Japanesecompanies and price each one accordingly. As soon as January 2000, it hopes to begin auctioning the patents on its pl-x.com Web site.

Teaming up with one of its recent backers, RECIPROCAL, INC., a Buffalo, New York digital rights management company, will put up 40 percent of the capital for a joint venture with SOFTBANK CORP. that is designed to enable Japanese companies to safely and profitably distribute digital content over the Internet or via physical digital media. Tokyo- based SOFTBANK DIGITAL RIGHTS, INC., expected to be formed in the first quarter of 2000, will use Reciprocal's DRM system and clearinghouse technologies to provide the infrastructure for the growth of digital commerce in Japan. Copyright protection, clearing services for financial and other information, intellectual property rights enforcement and IP tracking and reporting services all can be handled via Reciprocal's Digital Clearing Service 2.0 solution. Although not yet in business, Softbank Digital Rights already has lined up its first customer: the eS!Music portal, a cooperative effort of YAHOO! JAPAN CORP. and SOFTBANK COMMERCE CORP.

LICENSE ONLINE, INC. offers a specialized type of DRM service for licensing MICROSOFT CORP. software on-line. Beginning in January 2000, MITSUI & CO., LTD. will use the Kirkland, Washington firm's solution to power a new e-commerce venture that initially will license Windows 2000 products via the Internet, generating as much as $95.2 million in revenues by March 2002. License Online's system provides customers with estimated licensing fees for various software configurations and volume pricing. It also tracks software usage and license renewals.

Not satisfied with what it says is its ability to reach 55 percent of all American Internet users with its electronic advertisements, 24/7 MEDIA, INC. has jumped into the Japanese market. The New York City firm's just-established, wholly owned Tokyo subsidiary will offer a wide range of services, everything from direct advertising development and sales to consulting services for virtual advertisers.

OPENSITE TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has made Japan its second international target, joining hands with JAPAN ENTRY CORP. of West Boxford, Massachusetts to begin promoting its on-line auction and dynamic e-commerce solutions and services. The software developed by Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based OpenSite offers dynamic pricing capabilities, making it attractive for business-to-business transactions and auctions. Japan Entry, which specializes in helping American firms gain a toehold in Japan's competitive markets, includes among its clients CITRIX SYSTEMS, INC., RED HAT, INC. and WIND RIVER SYSTEMS, INC.

While its original mission was similar to Japan Entry's, ENCOMPASS GLOBALIZATION, INC. is expanding its scope by offering turnkey, localized e-com-merce solutions to American firms interested in the Japanese market. The Kirkland, Washington-based unit of ENCOMPASS GROUP, INC. — which was formed in 1995 by DBC TECHNOLOGIES INC., NIKKO SECURITIES CO., LTD. and TRANS COSMOS INC.'s American subsidiary — has teamed with Trans Cosmos to market a full line of Japanese services. These span Web site development, English-to-Japanese translation of Web pages, data base integration and back-end support, customer-call support in Japan, Japanese-style order management and yen-based payment solutions.

The pace of new offerings in the Japanese market for business-to-business solutions remains torrid. I2 TECHNOLOGIES, INC., for example, plans to introduce in April 2000 services and software to boost the performance of corporate procurement and sales activities on the Internet. The Irving, Texas company will localize its Trade Matrix B2B system, allowing Japanese buyers to accept bids from companies around the globe. Manufacturers of electronics and PCs as well as trading companies are expected to be particularly interested in i2 Technologies' services.

Top

The company formed in September by digital data management service provider WAM!NET INC. of Eagan, Minnesota and SUMITOMO CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 33) has gotten off to a fast start. It has improved its B2B network service by adding a Japanese-language capability and fine-tuning its work- flow tools in line with local business practices. Most impressively, WAM!NET's majority- owned venture has signed up some of Japan's top printing and advertising companies, including DEN-TSU INC., HAKUHODO INC., DAI NIPPON PRINTING CO., LTD., KYODO NEWS MARKETS CO., LTD. and TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD. However, the first customer to deploy the new Japanese-language service is UNIVERSAL VICTOR, INC., which will use WAM!NET to transfer data for its CD jackets from the United States to Japan.

At the high end of the B2B market, PORTAL SOFTWARE, INC. has shown that it intends to be a major player in Japan by opening a wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo and pledging to adapt its e-business infrastructure software to the requirements of Internet services providers, communications providers, emerging Internet services businesses and companies offering on-line services. The Cupertino, California firm is a leading provider of customer management and billing software for the Internet in the form of its real-time Infranet 6.0 as well as of next-generation communications services. Portal Software's three distributors — BUSSAN SYSTEMS INTEGRATION CO., LTD., ITOCHU TECHNO- SCIENCE CORP. and NTT SOFTWARE CORP. — are part owners of its subsidiary.

Big portal operator LYCOS, INC. along with SUMITOMO CORP. and INTERNET INITIATIVE JAPAN INC. have brought in KADOKAWA SHOTEN PUBLISHING CO., LTD. as a 7.4 percent partner in LYCOS JAPAN K.K., representing an investment of $761,900. The joint venture hopes to leverage its connection with the media company to expanded the contents of its portal. At the same time, Lycos Japan raised $32.4 million, primarily from equal owners Lycos of Waltham, Massachusetts and Sumitomo, that will be used to further upgrade its portal and for promotional activities. Meanwhile, the company added a powerful set of on-line Web design tools. The new portal service, named Tripod Japan, signed up 10,000 users in its first four days, mirroring its strong showing in the United States and Europe.

MICROSOFT CORP.'s unit and NEC CORP. have teamed up to promote sales of the software giant's Web-site design package, FrontPage 2000, as well as end-to-end Web hosting services. Joining the marketing effort are JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. and two Internet-related companies, CRAYFISH CO., LTD. and INTERQ INC.

With reliability becoming a key consideration for the expansion of e-commerce, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. sees a promising market for its fail-over Web server package. Combining its NonStop Web Server software with its Himalaya series of enterprise servers, Compaq's subsidiary is offering turnkey, high-avail-ability Web server solutions beginning at $283,800.

NEC CORP. has lined up some powerful allies behind its Biglobe Internet service: HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and ORACLE CORP. Beginning in 2000, the three will work together to create hardware, software and ISP services packages for Biglobe, already the number two in the market. Before then, the partners will establish a center to develop technology and share business information.

Not to be outdone, FUJITSU, LTD. will launch a wireless Web service for its @nifty ISP business using software from SPYGLASS INC. The Naperville, Illinois firm's Prism powers @nifty's Mobile Fitter Internet portal, which can reformat on-the-fly ordinary Web pages to fit the small screens of handheld devices. Spyglass products are available through distributor INTERCOM CO., LTD. @nifty is Japan's top ISP.

Sophisticated click-stream logging and analysis solutions from ACCRUE SOFTWARE, INC. are now available in a fully localized form through distributor SUMISHO ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 25). The Fremont, California firm's Insight 3.1/J allows site designers not only to develop click histories of users, but it also enables them to evaluate the effect of Web site changes. Sumisho Electronics priced this package at $38,100. It will offer as well click-stream analysis services based on Accrue's software to e-commerce businesses and other clients. These services will start at $4,800 a month. The distributor is projecting revenues from this activity at $4.8 million in the first year.

JAVU TECHNOLOGIES, INC. licensed its on-line video editing and digital media processing tools on a nonexclusive basis to NTT COMMUNICATIONWARE CORP. One of Japan's bigger software houses, the Japanese company will use JavuNetwork to add rich multimedia capabilities to its systems integration, network integration and IT outsourcing operations. The New York City firm's software makes powerful linear, nonlinear and real-time editing tools available to users over an intranet, the Internet or an extranet.

Interactive video streaming technology from SEEIT FIRST.COM, INC. will allow DENTSU TEC INC. to use rich, multimedia presentations to display clients' products and services on the Internet. The Fremont, California company's software raises the on-line experience to a new level by allowing users to interact in real time with streaming media resources. SeeItFirst.com will create a customized media player for the Japanese market as part of the deal with the advertising production subsidiary of the world's top single-brand ad agency.

The big communications services providers around the world licensed to use SOFTWARE.COM, INC.'s ISP-strength e-mail server software now include Japan's number-two domestic long-distance carrier, JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. JT will deploy the Santa Barbara, California firm's InterMail messaging platform to deliver e-mail and other advanced communications services to its growing number of dial-up customers. JT sought scalability, support for the IMAP4 e-mail protocol, enterprise outsourcing and mobile phone services in choosing InterMail.

Competitor COMMTOUCH SOFTWARE LTD. has landed a big contract of its own, signing up ASAHI SHIMBUN PUBLISHING CO. to tweak its e-mail software into an Asahi-branded messaging platform. The messaging software will be incorporated into Asahi's news and information Web site, allowing the influential newspaper to offer free e- mail services to users. Commtouch first began providing Japanese-language e-mail in 1996, long before most other companies. It now serves 1.2 million end-users in Japan who subscribe to the various outsourced Web-based e-mail services that it supports.

UNISYS CORP.'s local unit has jumped into the emerging market for application service providers, forming a business unit under the asaban.com brand name. For an as yet undetermined fee, customers will receive an Internet-based "electronic cabinet" that will contain their data and programs. This virtual office can be accessed via a Web browser from any type of Internet connection. Electronic payment and other back-end services also will be offered as options — attractive features to small businesses and consumers alike.

A new version of its enterprise-level network security suite has been released by NOVELL, INC.'s Japanese arm. BorderManager Enterprise Edition 3.5 includes firewall, virtual private network and authentica-tion modules that link closely with its market-leading Novell Directory Services package. The combination, Novell estimates, will slash corporations' security management costs by as much as 70 percent. The modules also are available as stand-alone applications.

Top

To parry sophisticated hacker attacks, NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s subsidiary added CyberCop Sting to its menu of security products. The package creates a fake, decoy network that will track intruders' actions and help investigators trace the source of attacks. Integrated with complementary tools from NAI, CyberCop Sting costs $15,200 to $22,900 for a 1,000-seat network. The local NAI operation also plans to release in the spring of 2000 several Web security appliances under the WebShield E-ppliance name with preinstalled antivirus, firewall and other security software. These products are aimed at small and midsize businesses.

WATCHGUARD TECHNOLOGIES, INC. announced that FUJITSU BUSINESS SYSTEMS LTD. has joined its roster of distribution partners (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 362, November 1999, p. 28). The big information services provider will sell and support the Seattle firm's WatchGuard LiveSecurity System, which protects Web servers and e-commerce transactions through a combination of constant monitoring by software and human engineers, security appliances and server- and client-based programs.

Also in this space, Atlanta's INTERNET SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC. announced that its subsidiary is working with SECOM CO., LTD. to integrate their security assessment and intrusion detection solutions. Secom, already Japan's largest managed security services provider, will add ISS's SAFEsuite family of programs to its Cyber-Security Managed Security Service to deliver the country's first remotely managed intrusion detection service.

TURBOLINUX, INC.'s subsidiary has rolled out Japanese versions of its latest Linux open-source operating system products, TurboLinux Workstation 6.0J and TurboLinux Server 6.0J. The San Francisco firm also has assembled a SOHO package that includes all the hardware and the software to create a Linux-based client-server network. Its marketing unit has released as well Linux utilities, such as backup and security programs, to round out its menu.

Rival RED HAT, INC. is forging ahead with its Japan business strategy. It is initiating sales of Linux support packages in Japanese and developing a network of agents from 150 companies as well as a cadre of certified technicians and engineers drawn from six Linux- focused systems integrators. Red Hat's recently formed subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 361, October 1999, p. 28) is in charge of the campaign. It has set itself a revenue goal of $9.5 million for the first year.

Faced with the inevitable onslaught of Windows 2000 and its Active Directory, NOVELL, INC. will offer beginning in January 2000 new versions of its Novell Directory Services. One of the products, eDirectory, works with MICROSOFT CORP.'s AD to provide seamless connections with NDS. The other, NDS Enterprise Edition, updates the venerable NetWare network operating system to encompass even more heterogeneous information infrastructures.

Also tied to the debut of Windows 2000 is a new programming utility from Schaumburg, Illinois-based INSTALLSHIELD SOFTWARE CORP. InstallShield Professional 2000 lets IT administrators create installation wizards for clients, ensuring uniform desktops and simplifying a potentially complex maintenance task. As with other InstallShield products, distribution of the $2,300 package is handled by NETSERVE INC.

Even though it opened a wholly owned subsidiary last summer (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 18), ZAYANTE, INC. still felt that it needed more marketing support for its family of IEEE 1394-compliant software modules. A memorandum of understanding between the Scotts Valley, California firm's Japanese unit and KOBE STEEL, LTD. addresses this gap by committing Kobelco not only to promote Zayante's high-speed interface software but also to port it to different CPUs and board/system designs. Zayante and Kobelco are projecting the results of their collaboration at a robust $47.6 million in the first year.

Cupertino, California-based RATIONAL SOFTWARE CORP. has given its Japanese operation new ammunition in the software development market: a localized version of its program analysis environment. Rational Suite AnalystStudio — which lists from $5,900 to $26,700 with add-ons — helps software developers get a better idea of customer needs and how their solution meets those requirements.

A more comprehensive software development and version-control system from MERANT INTERNATIONAL LTD. of Rockville, Maryland will streamline SUMITOMO CEMENT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT CO., LTD.'s work flow. MERANT's PVCS Professional solution will shorten development times for programs intended for cement factories, including quality control, shipment management and sales administration.

With Japan home to about 12 percent of the global base of IBM AS/400 users, AS/400 software specialist I/NET, INC. is going after the Japanese market. The Kalamazoo, Michigan firm signed GENERAL BUSINESS SERVICES CO., LTD. to distribute its products and is working with its new Tokyo partner to prepare its software for the Japanese market. Since GBS is partly owned by IBM JAPAN LTD. and already handles a large volume of AS/400 hardware and software sales, I/NET's Internet-enabling products, including Net Print/400, will tap a ready base of customers and technical support.

IBM JAPAN LTD. and NTT SOFTWARE CORP. have begun sales of WebBASE Server Pages for WebSphere, their $1,900 Java servlet and Java script engine for IBM Japan's Web site development environment. The software allows programmers to move many processor-intense, data-base tasks to the server, improving response times and reducing bandwidth demands.

INSIGNIA SOLUTIONS INC. is targeting one of Java's weak spots — its relatively slow performance — in one of the hottest markets for embedded Java technology. The Fremont, California company has released its Jeode platform through a new Tokyo office. Insignia's current distributor, AI CORP., will continue in that role. The independently developed Jeode adheres to Sun Microsystems' EmbeddedJava and PersonalJava specifications, but it offers significant performance improvements in consumer and embedded Java applications.

Realizing that connectivity is key to the success of its OnNet Solution Internet-oriented computer consulting service, UNISYS CORP.'s subsidiary developed EnConne — Enabler for Connection. This middleware product allows legacy and state-of-the-art mainframes to link seamlessly with heterogeneous client computers and networks. The package supports several variants of Unix as well as Windows NT, plus many back-end data bases and Web-centric products. Depending on a user's needs, EnConne is priced from $32,400.

With the same idea, MICROSOFT CORP. and HITACHI, LTD. agreed to link their middleware and messaging products. By the start of 2000, the partners hope to integrate Hitachi's Groupmax Workflow for Exchange more tightly with Microsoft's Exchange Server, allowing work-flow management to be expanded throughout a corporate intranet and the Internet. Microsoft has a similar tie-up with NEC CORP. .....Separately, MICROSOFT CORP. and HITACHI SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. will join hands to further their systems integration businesses. Through an exchange of software experts, the partners will offer a more complete menu of enterprise information products, including e- commerce and knowledge management as well as core IT systems. They hope to win some 100 contracts annually for information systems work.

Top

The subsidiaries of UNISYS CORP. and BEA SYSTEMS, INC. have signed a sales and development agreement to improve their positions in the market for Internet application servers. Unisys will add its expertise in Java applications to BEA Systems' WebLogic family of Web app servers to engineer products with better interoperability and stability. Last spring, the Unisys unit created a 40-person operation dedicated to developing Java systems. In light of the tie-up with BEA Systems, this group will be expanded to roughly 100 employees.

A very much on-the-move-in-Japan COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. has developed with NTT COMMUNICATIONS CORP. an enterprise information management services solution that promises to maintain cutting-edge technology and techniques. International long-distance services provider NTT Communications will offer consulting, design and implementation services backed by CA's full line of enterprise software. That includes in particular its Neugents neural network-based predictive management tool. Training support will be offered as well, including a new EIMS competency center. The pair hope to attract nontraditional customers, such as printers, vending machine operators and point-of-sale users, as well as the usual corporate IT contracts. NTT Communications will roll out its complete line of EIMS services in April 2000.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has issued an update of its popular integrated IT systems management solution, OpenView Manage. Version 4.21, which is priced at $4,700, provides central administrators with more tools to deal with new needs, such as mobile, handheld appliances and multimedia over Internet Protocol.

An enterprise application integration package from GE INFORMATION SERVICES, INC. forms the nucleus of affiliate INFORMATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL-DENTSU, LTD.'s new EIA for e-com-merce solution. GEIS's InterLinx is billed as a multipurpose integration broker that easily can link disparate business, e-commerce and electronic data interchange applications within a firm and with business partners. ISID's implementation of InterLinx will be priced from $66,700 for a license that allows five simultaneous users. The company hopes to land five EIA contracts the first year.

In another key win, PEOPLESOFT, INC. has sold its enterprise resource planning package to DAIHA-TSU MOTOR CO., LTD. Executives of the minivehicle maker hope PeopleSoft 7 will streamline eight core corporate financial operations, such as accounting and asset management, when it goes on-line in April 2001. PRICEWATERHOUSE CONSULTANTS CO. will help with installation. Daihatsu's decision to deploy PeopleSoft 7 presumably was influenced by the fact that majority owner TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. already uses this package for accounting.

INTELLUTION, INC. of Norwood, Massachusetts licensed its Paradym-31 industrial controller package to DIGITAL ELECTRONICS CORP. for use in the Osaka firm's panel computers. To be available in the spring of 2000, the $3,800 hardware/software combination will have a wide range of applications, including machine building, monitoring equipment, materials-handling and assembly.

The local unit of PARAMETRIC TECHNOLOGY CORP. and TOSHIBA CORP. are selling a jointly developed enterprise product modeling solution. Based on the Waltham, Massachusetts firm's WindChill 3.0, the EPM design environment speeds product innovation and creation by improving project team coordination. Toshiba is supplying the middleware and integration know-how to link the EPM solution with legacy and current systems.

EXE TECHNOLOGIES, INC. has landed a contract for its supply chain management system from distribution equipment maker TOYO KANETSU K.K. The Dallas company's Japanese operation will install the SCM package on Toyo Kanetsu's sorting and conveyor devices, allowing the Tokyo firm to automate the distribution process from materials procurement to product delivery.

SAS INSTITUTE INC. continues to give its data-base products an Internet spin. In the latest move, the Cary, North Carolina firm has linked its Enterprise Miner and other data warehouse packages with its customer relations management system, creating a CRM solution for e-commerce. The combination, SAS Institute hopes, will boost 2000 sales by its subsidiary as much as 50 percent to $57.1 million.

With wireless Web surfing booming in Japan, ORACLE CORP. has rolled out a special version of its Oracle8i Internet-enabled relational data-base system for handheld Internet appliances. By sharing processing tasks between the server and these devices, Oracle8i Lite 4.0 provides mobile users with nearly the full power of the standard RDB system. Available immediately for Windows 95/98/NT at $370 per user, a Windows CE version of Oracle8i Lite 4.0 is planned for early 2000.

The latest version of INFORMIX CORP.'s Red Brick Warehouse data warehouse is the keystone of what the Menlo Park, California firm calls its i.Economy initiative. Version 6.0, to be released by Informix's subsidiary in January 2000, easily moves data back and forth from the Internet and Internet-standard formats. It also interfaces with many popular front- end programs. Informix Red Brick Warehouse 6.0 licenses will start at $1,900 per user for the Windows NT version and at $4,800 for the Unix version.

To meet the stiffer competition in the data warehouse market, NCR CORP.'s subsidiary is restructuring its data-base operations. It is merging the retail distribution, industrial and financial groups into a single organization that will offer comprehensive RDB products and services to all customers. However, mirroring the strategy of its parent, the subsidiary will emphasize three solutions: financial self-service (automated teller machines), retail store automation and data warehousing. Globally, NCR ranks first in the ATM business and second in retail store automation, with its market positions in Japan equally high.

Belmont, Massachusetts-based BUSINESS FORECAST SYSTEMS, INC. has launched its forecasting software with the help of distributor HITACHI TOHOKU SOFTWARE, LTD. Currently available only in English but with a Japanese manual, Forecast Pro 4.0 combines artificial intelligence, graphical modeling and customizable output with a wide selection of forecasting models. The $2,900 to $19,000 system will be released in Japanese in early 2000, a move that the partners hope will pump up revenues to $95,300 a month.

Formerly the province of the military, remote-sen-sing data has become a commercially available product. To process and interpret this new information, SENSOR SYSTEMS, INC. of Sterling, Virginia is offering its Remote View Professional through an exclusive deal with MITSUBISHI CORP. Currently available only for Unix (a Windows NT version is planned), the software can import data from government and commercial sources, enhance it, display it in stereo views, and annotate and analyze the imagery. With Remote View Professional priced from just $2,900, the partners hope that FY 2000 sales will reach 1,500 packages.

Top

Geographic information systems provider MAPINFO CORP. has upped the ante in the Japanese market through a flurry of recent moves. First, it is taking an equity stake in a leading GI provider, ALPS MAPPING CO., LTD., which had revenues of $14.3 million in 1999 and employs 110 people. The $952,400 deal will give Troy, New York- headquartered MapInfo a 16.7 percent interest in Alps Mapping. It also will invest $3.8 million in new debt instruments that eventually could be converted into a 51 percent share in the Nagoya firm. Alps Mapping will be a primary source of local geographic data and a development partner for new products and services. Second, MapInfo boosted its distribution channels from one to four, with a FUJITSU, LTD. affiliate, KIMOTO CO., LTD. of Tokyo and OSAKA GAS INFORMATION SYSTEM RESEARCH INSTITUTE joining longtime distributor MITSUI ZOSEN SYSTEMS RESEARCH, INC. Finally, MapInfo established a wholly owned subsidiary to support its enlarged distribution team and customer base.

IN-SYNC CORP. has brought its professional (nonlinear) video-editing products to local users through a pact with Tokyo's VISUAL PROCESSING JAPAN, INC. Bethesda, Maryland-based in sync's Speed Razor 4.7 and Speed Razor 4.5 SE have been localized and renamed by VPJ as RTMatch 4.7 and SEMatch 4.5. The former lists for $3,800, while the latter costs $1,400. VPJ also offers the higher-end, network RTMatch 4.7 version bundled with Windows NT hardware at prices ranging from $23,600 to $45,700.

Also in this field, TOOLFARM.COM, INC. has tied up with IMAGE AND MEASUREMENT INC. of Tokyo to begin on-line sales of graphics software. The San Francisco company brings its experience as an on-line reseller of professional graphics and image-editing software as well as its product line to the effort, while IMI will focus on marketing and localization. With a portfolio of 50 to 60 packages, Toolfarm.com hopes to pull in sales of $950,000 the first year. If all goes well, the new partners could open a joint venture after a year or two.

GETTY IMAGES, INC. will establish a company with SOFTBANK PUBLISHING INC. that will be the exclusive distributor of selected branded collections from the Seattle firm's extensive (30,000 still pictures and 15,000 hours of motion pictures) library of digital imagery. The new firm, in which Getty Images will have a 40 percent stake, will begin operations sometime in the first half of 2000. Among the collections it will handle are Tony Stone Images, PhotoDisc, EyeWire and Art.com. The content will be provided both on-line and in CD-ROM form to publishers and individuals. Getty Images' PHOTODISC, INC. subsidiary, which publishes high-resolution digital photos, already has an operation in Japan, leading to the possibility of a business tie-up between the proposed Getty Images joint venture and PhotoDisc's subsidiary.

Hoping to grab share in the market for office productivity packages at the expense of MICROSOFT CORP., the dominant player, SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. plans to release a Japanese version of its StarOffice business productivity suite for the Linux open- source operating system by the summer of 2000. Besides including all the expected modules — word-processing, spreadsheet, graphics, contact manager and Web browser — StarOffice can import and export Microsoft Office files. To top it off, Sun Microsystems plans to offer the software for free if downloaded via the Internet or at a nominal cost for a CD-ROM.

SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary is offering new versions of its popular PC utilities. Norton Utilities 2000 for Windows 95/98 provides constant data protection in the background and offers a set of updated analysis, diagnostic and optimization tools. It is priced at $95. Norton SystemWorks 2000 for Windows 95/98 bundles Norton Utilities with Norton AntiVirus, Norton CleanSweep and Norton CrashGuard for just $190. As one sign of the popularity of these products, Symantec is projecting annual sales at 400,000 copies for Norton SystemWorks 2000 and at 150,000 units for Norton Utilities 2000.

A Japanese-language version of LAPLINK.COM, INC.'s popular PC remote control package, LapLink 2000 Second Edition, is shipping. Aimed at computers running Windows 98 Second Edition, the Bothell, Washington firm's new product handles a wider range of communications options, including ISDN (integrated services digital network) and other wideband protocols. Localized and marketed by Tokyo's INTERCOM, INC., LapLink 2000 is $100 for a single license. A two-seat license goes for just $60 more.

The Japanese unit of UNISYS CORP. and two affiliates of SHOWA SEIKI CO., LTD. are working on a 3D computer-aided design package that they hope will cut in half the time and the cost of designing dies. Starting with an existing Unisys CAD package, a team of some 500 engineers drawn from the three companies is aiming to have the system finished and installed at Showa Seiki group firms by April 2001.

To simplify and broaden the use of CAD programs, SOLIDWORKS CORP. has developed a free program that takes 2D engineering drawings and turns them into 3D images on a PC. The eDrawings utility helps ensure that vendors and suppliers understand the CAD data. However, it also allows users to focus in on any part of a CAD diagram, change its viewing axis, print out specific parts and even attach hypertext links to drawings.

To showcase its new software and services, CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC., the world's electronic design automation leader, has installed its intellectual property infrastructure at OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. Combined with Oki's Silicon Platform Architecture design methodology, Cadence's IP infrastructure will allow the chip manufacturer to reuse designs more easily and efficiently. With prices starting at $750,000, the San Jose, California firm's IP-reuse solution covers know-how for packaging, cataloging, managing and storing IP cores for both analog and digital hardware as well as software for integrating components into final products.

XILINX, INC.'s subsidiary has released Japanese versions of its flagship EDA product, the Alliance and Foundation Series 2.1i. Aimed at designing FPGAs, the packages include the 2.1i versions of the Vertex line, which can handle 2-million-gate FPGAs, the high-speed Implementation Tools compiler, the CORE Generator module, the FPGA Express advanced synthesis tool from SYNOPSIS, INC. and support for the Internet Team Design add-on.

Top

In the competing ASIC camp, MAGMA DESIGN AUTOMATION, INC.'s recently established subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 32) has landed a major contract from FUJITSU, LTD. The electronics giant will integrate the Cupertino, California firm's Blast Fusion ASIC physical design package in its 0.25-micron process technology throughout its worldwide network of design centers and teams. Blast Fusion's ability to predict accurately final timing prior to detailed physical layout in some cases cuts design times to one-sixth the previous length.

SYNOPSIS, INC. has teamed with HITACHI, LTD. to codevelop, market and support a simulation and verification system for Hitachi's SH3-DSP and SH-4 embedded microcontroller families. By converting Hitachi's processors for use with Synopsis Eagle hardware/software coverification tools, designers can improve product quality and cut design time. Those advances are possible because software can be run on hardware long before physical prototypes are completed. Among the changes the partners made were to fine-tuned the solution for mobile information appliances and intelligent home appliance designs. Pricing starts at $220,600 for a three-year license.

Also targeting the exploding market for intelligent devices, INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. of Sunnyvale, California and KYOTO MICROCOMPUTER CO., LTD. have linked their products into a more complete simulation/emulation package. Kyoto Microcomputer contributed its in-circuit emulator expertise with ROMs, which ISI integrated into the debugger/compiler package created by its DIAB-SDS, INC. subsidiary (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 32). The solution is designed for real-time applications based on ISI's pSOS real-time operating system for embedded systems.

HPL, INC. is marketing its yield-enhancement and defect-analysis line for IC manufacturing through CANON SALES CO., INC. The San Jose, California firm's YIELDirector series includes a parametric module to investigate yield limiters in the context of semiconductor design and process parametric sensitivity; a defect module that accepts a wide range of production data and zeros in on yield-limiting factors; and a module tailored for the particular needs of manufacturing advanced memory chips.

Building on the successful collaboration that led to SEIKO EPSON CORP.'s Locatio multipurpose mobile communications device, GEOWORKS CORP. will help the Japanese firm develop the follow-on Locatio M and Locatio S models. The focus of the new iterations will be e-commerce and wireless media services. Alameda, California-based Geoworks' Professional Service Group has been providing its expertise in wireless communications software and solutions to Seiko Epson since last May.

Catching the wave of interest in NTT MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, INC.'s iMode wireless digital communications system, SOFTLINK, INC. has licensed its voice- recognition and compression know-how to TELSYS NETWORK CO., LTD. The Japanese software maker will integrate Santa Clara, California-based Softlink's eMail inChorus and eMail VOICELink products into NTT DoCoMo's menu of services, allowing users to send voice e-mail messages to PCs and other iMode phones.

LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORP. also is jumping on the iMode bandwagon by offering a gateway for its popular Notes/Domino groupware. Developed in cooperation with HITACHI INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD., Lotus Domino PhoneConnect r1.0 allows iMode phones to link with Domino servers and access Notes workgroup services. The product costs $12,200 for a single server/unlimited client license.

Preparing for what many observers think will be the next big consumer electronics market development, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary unveiled what it says is the first complete solution for interactive digital TV services. Based on the Oracle8i RDBMS, the Oracle Interactive TV Solution offers an end-to-end bundle of content-design tools, e-commerce modules and back-end support for huge amounts of data.

An exchange rate of ¥105=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

Top aaaaa Issue Index aaaaa 1999 Archive Index aaaa Search aaaaa Subscriber Areaaaaa Home