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September 29, 1998

NETSCAPE PUSHES HOSTING WITH NEW PRODUCTS & TIE-UPS

By CBR Staff Writer

Netscape Communications Corp’s ‘exit strategy’ (CI No 3,431) from the bruising client browser war may now land it right back in Microsoft Corp’s sights. The Palo Alto, California-based company has launched three new products aimed at the web hosting market and signed two new deals in the hosting arena. The new products are the latest versions of Netscape’s Messaging Server Hosting Edition (CI No 3,254) and Messenger Express (CI No 3,409) email client and Netscape Delegated Administrator, a directory-based application that allows companies to privately view and manage their hosted users and groups. Netscape has also signed a hosting deal with over 75 international telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) – including Bell Canada, Energis, Interpath, SwissCom, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom – whereby the telcos and ISPs will use Netscape’s new software to provide intranet hosting facilities for small companies. In addition, Netscape has signed a deal with Hewlett-Packard Co to combine its SuiteSpot Hosting Edition with HP’s Smart Internet Suite package. The link up with the international telcos and ISPs is a logical extension of Netscape’s recent strategy to extend their software, web hosting and marketing agreements, witness recent deals with Qwest (CI No 3,498) and Bullsoft (CI No 3,499). But ironically, the very exit strategy that Netscape hit upon to put clear blue water between them and Redmond may now see the two rivals clashing again. Microsoft has also recently been signing up international telcos for hosting agreements (CI No 3,405), and has its new web hosting platform, the Microsoft Commercial Internet System 2.0 (CI No 3,405) ready. Netscape is hoping that it has got the lead in web hosting technology and partnership deals to avoid Redmond cutting into its market share in this arena as well. Catherine Corre, a Netscape spokesperson, claimed that Microsoft doesn’t really have the software to compare with Netscape’s new products and that Redmond hadn’t inked major hosting deals with the number or variety of different companies that Netscape had.

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