RealTime IT News

Netscape Outlines High Growth Potential in Enterprise Market

Although Netscape didn't formally announce much in the way of new products at its strategy briefing held this week in San Francisco, it did make sure that the world's press heard what its products can and will do.

Interspersed with a relatively moderate amount of corporate hype, Netscape presented a great deal of interesting information, which some people might characterize as "factoids," but which nevertheless paints an interesting picture of Internet business in the year 1998. Some highlights include:

  • E*trade, a completely new company set up to perform stock transactions over the Internet, is second in market share only to Charles Schwab & Co.
  • Barnes & Noble has $1 billion inventory in its stores, yet Amazon.com has a higher market capitalization.
  • Ford Motor Company is using Internet-based applications to cut its vehicle delivery time from over 50 days to just 15, and it's looking to a future in which traditional dealer networks might be bypassed in favor of direct customer contact.
  • Intuit is turning Quicken from a lackluster retail software product into a booming Internet-based service.

The irony here is that computers and the Internet, still lambasted by many popular media for "depersonalizing society," are helping companies connect more personally with their customers. Netscape sees this as a big opportunity for itself and its customers--over 2,500 companies, including ISPs, value-added networks, and Web developers--to create Web-based applications that can scale to global levels.

This is why Netscape invested heavily in directory services (the company claims its LDAP directory server is 260,000 times faster than its nearest competitor), and this is why it's focusing on end-to-end commerce (not just serving to validate credit cards).

This high potential for growth is also why Netscape's application and enterprise servers are equipped with features such as link management, load balancing, and automatic failure recovery (to a working server).

It's why Netscape's working with Sun Microsystems to provide a single point of support for customers running its software on Sun hardware. And it's why the company's providing tools to connect legacy applications to the Web.

Microsoft may own the desktop, but Netscape is looking to own the business infrastructure.