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NetObjects Fulfils Online Strategy With Matrix

Website software vendor NetObjects Inc continued its evolution into an online software provider this week (Oct 30th) with the launch of NetObjects Matrix, an integrated suite of online services designed for business service providers.

Matrix provides a platform that service providers can use to customise their own integrated set of online services targetted at small businesses. It also includes a hosted sitebuilding tool and access to a range of e-business enhancement services.

The launch is the culmination of a strategy first planned by the company as long as two years ago, CEO Samir Arora told ASPnews this week. NetObjects launched its first links with hosting providers in Dec 1999 and last year acquired online website builder Sitematic. Earlier this month it announced the acquisition of privately-held website enhancement services company MyComputer.com Inc.

"We've put all that learning together and come up with this new offering," said Arora. "NetObjects has become a completely ASP company."

NetObjects claims the Web-based page layout editor and site builder is the first fully WYSIWYG online site creation tool available through service providers. It brings online many of the features of NetObjects Fusion, the vendor's packaged retail product.

E-business enhancement services available as part of Matrix — many of them based on MyComputer.com's services — include promotional aids, reporting and management services and marketing services.

The platform, designed to be hosted by service providers on Sun Solaris or Redhat Linux machines, is based on XML and server-side Java. It provides a complete hosted services framework that allows partners to offer a suite of integrated online services. The customisable platform supports multiple client types, including PDAs and digital cellular phones, through its support for multiple publishing standards such as HTML, XML and WML.

NetObjects is targeting large, established service providers such as hardware vendors, telecommunications carriers, Web hosting companies, and ISPs that want to provide online services to small business. The platform allows them to use their own trusted brands to build subscription-based revenue.

"We understand that small business owners are interested in buying bundled Internet solutions from companies familiar to them." said Steve Mitgang, EVP marketing of NetObjects. "NetObjects Matrix will help our partners provide a comprehensive and extensible suite of services that allow the small business to build their Web sites, engage in e-commerce, and, bottom line, grow and manage their business."

NetObjects has recently announced distribution agreements of NetObjects Fusion with service providers such as Dell, IBM, EarthLink, Concentric, and Deutsche Telekom/T-Online, providing the largest market reach to small businesses. NetObjects Matrix Services will be available immediately from these partners through an online link built into the Fusion package.

NetObjects Matrix is available to service provider partners now, and the first services based on the platform are likely to be launched early next year, said Arora.



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