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Netscape cuts deals for e-commerce

Netscape expands relationships with e-commerce software makers CyberCash, VeriFone, and Trintech.

Netscape Communications (NSCP) has expanded e-commerce deals with online-payment companies CyberCash (CYCH), VeriFone (VFI), and Trintech, a payment firm with strong European ties.

The deals come as no surprise. Earlier this month, Netscape killed its own e-commerce payment software, LivePayment, and said it intended to pursue deals with third-party vendors to supply software for accepting online payments.

Netscape and CyberCash announced that they will offer electronic commerce enhancements that will give online merchants new options for charging customers by electronic check, credit card, or CyberCoin transactions. Netscape's partnership with Trintech will deliver a version of Trintech's PayWare payment software to merchants that work with Netscape's SuiteSpot server software. Trintech, which says 10,000 PayWare installations already exist worldwide, last month announced a similar deal with Microsoft.

Netscape and Trintech also are collaborating on Visa International's European trials of the proposed Secure Electronic Transactions credit card payment protocol. CyberCash has also pledged to continue developing products using the SET protocol and plans to begin international pilots later this year.

Building on a relationship first announced last fall, Netscape and CyberCash have added Netscape One open network support, plus JavaScript support to CyberCash CashRegister to make it easier for developers to integrate the e-commerce software with Netscape's SuiteSpot servers. The CashRegister software is already available for free download from the CyberCash Web site.

The CyberCash Wallet, client-side software that works with Netscape Communicator, also is getting an easier-to-use interface and installation process to facilitate online shopping and to provide new payment options.

In addition to the ability to purchase items electronically via credit card and CyberCoin cash transaction options, the two companies said they will add electronic check payment capabilities using "industrial strength encryption." However, the companies gave no time table for the e-check debut.

A version of the Wallet for the Netscape Navigator 3.0 will be ready for download from the CyberCash site starting next month, while an upgrade to work with the Communicator 4.0 is due in the second quarter, the companies said.

Merchants and their banks can process the online payments by connecting to First Data Merchant Services, a company that has been offering "real time" processing for CyberCash merchant customers for the past two years.

Actra Business Systems, Netscape's joint venture with GE Information Services, is also working with CyberCash on a commercial and business-to-business payment options that will be incorporated into future Merchant and Publishing System products, the company said.

Netscape and VeriFone today announced that they will jointly market VeriFone's vPOS Merchant Software and vGATE Internet gateway software. The two companies will also develop future versions of vPOS Merchant Software to work with Netscape's SuiteSpot server software.