Despite an upbeat earnings report yesterday, e-commerce
software vendor BroadVision saw its stock trade lower today,
even though it's among just a handful of Internet commerce firms actually
BroadVision solidified its claim
as the top e-commerce software vendor, reporting net income of $2.09
million, or 8 cents a share, meeting
the consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by First Call, compared to a loss a year
earlier. Revenue increased 86 percent to $16 million from $8.6 million.
"BroadVision is the most successful of the companies in this space," said
Greg Vogel, e-commerce analyst at NationsBanc Montgomery Securities,
who has a "buy" recommendation on the stock. "They've really tried to look
beyond being a transaction engine to process payments."
Known for software that personalizes Web sites for each visitor,
BroadVision's stock traded at 41.25 near mid-day, off 3.875. It reported
results after yesterday's market close, but its shares
rose 3.50 yesterday to 45.125, near its 52-week high of 49.25.
Bill Burnham, e-commerce analyst at Credit
Suisse First Boston, says BroadVision's focus has helped the company.
"They hit the nail on the head from the outset. Their focus from the get-go
was how to create an application that allows companies to take advantage of
the unique capabilities of the Internet," Burnham said.
BroadVision CEO Pehong Chen agrees: "We haven't changed a bit of what we
do, and I think the market is waking up to the need that we have always
Profitability, he adds, sets BroadVision apart from its rivals. "Any
competitor in this space says it's not going to make money for years."
That description may fit Open
Market, which has higher revenues but still loses money.
Netscape is another BroadVision
competitor, but its future in the e-commerce space is clouded by its
impending acquisition by America Online
and Sun Microsystems' future
role in marketing Netscape software after the deal closes.
BroadVision also competes with niche e-commerce players like ConnectInc.com and Vignette.
ConnectInc. is in the midst of a turnaround, de-emphasizing its e-commerce
software and instead seeking consulting engagements and partnering with IBM, which has its own e-commerce offerings
Vignette, which last month
refiled for an initial public offering, brings its personalization
technology from the Internet publishing space but is trying to move into
e-commerce. CNET: The Computer Network, parent of News.com, is a minority
shareholder in Vignette.
Other private e-commerce firms that overlap with BroadVision in some areas
include ATG and Interworld.
Burnham of Credit Suisse is encouraged by the quality of BroadVision's 36
new customers, including Applied Materials, Oracle, Electronic Arts, and Motorola.
"These are big companies with big budgets doing big things on the
Internet," said Burnham, adding that BroadVision is dropping encouraging
hints about names like Procter & Gamble
and Citibank, a Netscape reference
Chen said the company is actively scouting potential acquisitions. On the
list: professional services firms and complementary technologies such as
front-office integration, integration with SAP and other enterprise software systems,
and expanding beyond the Net to let companies use BroadVision software to
reach customers via interactive TV and voice systems too.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.