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Microsoft upgrades Site Server

The company unveils a new version of its e-commerce software and says it is positioning the server for both consumer and business commerce.

NEW YORK--Microsoft today unveiled a new version of its e-commerce software, Site Server, and said it is positioning the server for both consumer-oriented and business-to-business commerce over the Internet.

Site Server 3.0, the first update of Microsoft's merchant server since June 1997, comes in two editions, a standard version for publishing on intranets and a Commerce Edition, which is a superset of the standard for conducting online transactions. Commerce Edition was formerly called the Enterprise Edition of the package.

Both versions require Windows NT Server 4.0 with Internet Information Server 4.0.

In addition, Pandesic, an e-commerce service that is a joint venture of Intel and SAP, said it will embed Commerce Edition of Site Server into its e-commerce software.

Microsoft also is including a procurement application, based on its internal purchasing system called Microsoft Market, as a template in the Commerce edition.

Enhancements in version 3.0 include stronger marketing functions, including personalization, profile management, and ad targeting. The Commerce version also unveils Microsoft's Commerce Interchange Pipeline, which moves data between different applications.

Microsoft's executive Anthony Bay said Microsoft considers its Site Server as a platform for online commerce, not an application. Asked about competitors, he named IBM and Netscape, indicating he expects Oracle to become a serious competitor as well.

Bay emphasized that Microsoft will rely on partners for catalogs, payment, fulfillment, accounting, electronic data interchange (EDI), and logistics.

Site Server 3.0 has an estimated retail price of $1,239 per server, which includes five client access licenses. Site Server Commerce Edition is priced from $4,609, including 25 client access licenses.

Upgrades from earlier versions are $969 for Site Server and $2,919 for the Commerce Edition. Both products are available for free download for a 90-day trial at Microsoft's Web site.