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Netscape inks deal for upgrades

The company will announce a deal with Intraware to provide Netscape's corporate customers with managed software updates.

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Netscape Communications on Monday will announce a deal with Intraware to provide Netscape's corporate customers with managed software updates.

Netscape will deploy Intraware's SubscribeNet software management service across its entire product line for corporate clients, Intraware CEO Peter Jackson told CNET News.com today.

SubscribeNet automatically notifies users when software updates are released. The service sends compressed and encrypted updates to the user, and provides a centrally located archive for software licenses, subscriptions, and update back-ups.

The deal with Netscape marks a change in Intraware's licensing model for SubscribeNet; since its launch last year, individual firms have subscribed to the service in order to keep their own desktops up to date on a variety of applications. Monday's announcement will mark the first time that Intraware licenses the service at the OEM level.

"SubscribeNet is something that customers have been paying us for to manage upgrades across their enterprise," Jackson said. "Now Netscape has bought it for their entire customer base. This will give Netscape great leverage on customer satisfaction, renewals on subscriptions, upgrades, bug fixes, and other patches."

Netscape paid Intraware an undisclosed sum for a year-long partnership. For firms that use the service to update Netscape software, there will be no charge.

While Netscape is Intraware's first OEM customer, about a dozen will follow soon, according to Jackson. Intraware has discussed OEM relationships with more than 50 companies, Jackson said.

The business of managing and delivering software updates is a headache that software developers are eager to outsource, opening opportunities for firms like Intraware, which derives 30 percent of its revenue from SubscribeNet; push software technology firms like Marimba, whose systems can deliver application updates over a network; and Softbank Services, whose site for ordering consumer software upgrades from Microsoft recently suffered an embarrassing security breach.

Netscape and Intraware recently launched the IT Knowledge Center for information technology resources. The site is hosted on Netscape's Netcenter portal.

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