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Netscape tests server, R/3 bundle

Netscape begins private beta testing for a new version of its Application Server for SAP's R/3 enterprise software.

Netscape Communications has begun private beta testing for a new version of its Application Server for SAP's R/3 enterprise software and an interface to link Netscape's e-commerce software to R/3 applications.

Due to ship next month, Netscape Application Server for R/3 enables companies to develop, deploy, and manage business Internet-based applications that work with SAP business software.

The SAP certification for ECXpert means Netscape's e-commerce software can integrate with existing SAP R/3 supply chain applications to make them work on extranets for trading with suppliers and customers.

"This is the first of our enterprise resource planning solutions," said Sharmila Shahani, Netscape's vice president of enterprise product marketing. "We absolutely will be rolling out more that integrates with leading ERP systems like PeopleSoft."

By starting with the biggest ERP software vendor, Netscape pushes further into the enterprise market to allow customer's legacy software to link to Netscape's offerings. In June, Netscape announced a program for software companies to integrate with Netscape applications.

Netscape Application Server for R/3 makes it easier to build Internet applications that integrate with SAP's software.

Netscape's Application Server software was acquired in November with Kiva Software in an $179 million stock deal. Since then, the application server market has heated up, with more than a dozen vendors rushing into that niche.

ECXpert is the foundation technology in Netscape's CommerceXpert family, so the SAP certification means all of Netscape's e-commerce offerings will link tightly to SAP software. ECXpert also supports electronic data interchange (EDI) and provides browser access to EDI over the Internet.

Pricing for the Netscape Application Server for R/3 is expected to be $70,000 per CPU and an additional $4,995 for each developer seat. ECXpert is priced at $75,000 for a two-CPU interface, and the SAP interface is due to ship by year's end.