The deal means that the software promoted by the alliance will reach a considerably broader market. Previously, only some of the products were available for the IBM Unix servers, but now the alliance's complete iPlanet product line will be available by the end of the first half of 2000, executives said today.
The deal also means more competition for some of the partners' own product lines. For example, iPlanet will compete with IBM's WebSphere e-commerce software, and Sun no longer will be the only company whose Unix servers run the iPlanet suite.
Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
The Sun-Netscape Alliance sells software that allows businesses to build e-commerce Web sites that link themselves to their customers and partners.
The alliance builds application servers, which run networked business software; directory software, which serve as a repository for user information; Web servers, which deliver Web pages to people browsing the Internet; messaging software; calendar software; and online selling and bill payment software.
The alliance grew out of America Online's acquisition of Netscape. AOL entered a partnership with Sun to sell the alliance software, and the two companies share revenue from the products.
The alliance has been signing several new deals to expand its software offerings.
IBM is reinvigorating its Unix server line, called RS/6000, in response to success by Sun's server sales. Servers are the machines, often powerful and expensive, that provide services over a network. IBM has recently added new high-end Unix servers, but Sun will be bolstering its own product line later this year.