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Applications

NetLedger unveils new name, product

The software maker changes its name to NetSuite and talks of plans to release a new version of its business applications--an effort by the company to broaden its appeal.

Software maker NetLedger on Thursday changed its name to NetSuite and discussed plans to release a new version of its business management applications--all in an effort broaden the appeal of the company's products.

The San Mateo, Calif., company, which is majority-owned by Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison, said the new name reflects the company's shift from selling a narrow focus on accounting applications to a broader selection of products. The company has expanded into sales, marketing, payroll and Web store software over the past couple of years.

The launch this week of NetSuite 9.0, the newest version of the company's software, adds still more features, including a new user interface, applications for tracking sales commissions, and complex billing and inventory functions. NetSuite 9.0 Professional Edition, a more advanced product, is closely tied to United Parcel Service's online shipping tools, allowing the system to automatically calculate shipping costs and track packages, the company said.

Zach Nelson, NetSuite's chief executive, called the new features "pretty darn close to SAP-like quality." SAP is the largest maker of business management applications in the world in terms of revenue, and counts many Fortune 500 companies among its clients.

NetSuite is targeting midsize companies, particularly wholesale and distribution companies, with the new release, Nelson said. The company's other product, the Oracle Small Business Suite, is designed for companies with fewer than 250 employees.

Oracle helped launch NetSuite in 1999. NetSuite delivers its software over the Web and charges a monthly fee for its use. At that time, the so-called application service provider concept was spawning dozens of start-up companies. NetSuite was among the few such companies to survive the dot-com bust, but the company is still in search of a profitable market niche to occupy. It's betting that midsize companies, rather than the small businesses it originally targeted, are the answer.

Oracle also is chasing after small and midsize customers with its E-business Suite Special Edition, which is one reason NetSuite has dropped the Oracle name from its newer set of products, Nelson said. In another signal that the companies are drifting apart, Ellison resigned as NetSuite's chairman in March.

NetSuite 9.0 and NetSuite 9.0 Professional Edition will both be available starting Friday. NetSuite 9.0 costs $4,800 a year for up to two users. NetSuite Pro starts at $9,000 a year for up to three users. Additional users for both versions are $75 a month per person.