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Actra ships e-commerce software

The joint Netscape-GE venture is shipping three e-commerce software products for the Windows NT platform.

E-commerce software vendor Actra, a joint venture of Netscape (NSCP) and GE Information Systems (GE), will announce tomorrow that it is shipping three products for the Windows NT platform.

Actra also will announce that two major systems integrators, KPMG Peat Marwick and Deloitte & Touche, will resell Actra products and build specialty practices around Actra's product line.

Ray Rike, Actra's vice president of sales and marketing, said, "We are developing the total customer solution as opposed to just an Internet commerce portfolio."

NT versions of SellerXpert, designed for companies selling to other firms over the Internet, and ECXpert, which allows firms to do Internet electronic data interchange (EDI), are now available. BuyerXpert, which is for companies that want to automate purchasing routine items using Internet catalogs, has been sent to some customers but will ship by year's end.

The Actra applications support two emerging standards on the Internet--Open Buying on the Internet (OBI) and EDI over the Internet (EDIINT). OBI is a standard way for vendors and buyers to present online catalogs so buyers and sellers can present information consistently. EDIINET moves EDI, a forms-based method of computer-to-computer communication without human intervention, from secure private networks to the Net.

By supporting those protocols, Actra applications let major corporations extend their trading communities to smaller suppliers, which can use the applications with a Web browser. EDI trading communities generally require suppliers to use proprietary software.

Actra's product line, CommerceXpert, includes e-commerce applications for both buyers and sellers. The family includes SellerXpert, BuyerXpert, EXCpert, and two former Netscape products, PublishingXpert 2.0 and Merchant Server. A new version of Merchant Server is due in early 1998.

Actra also said 30 Fortune 1000 companies are using its software, including Shell Oil, Bell Canada, Hitachi, Kinko's, TNT Logistics, Boise Cascade Office Products, and Telefonica.

Pricing for BuyerXpert begins at $250,000; ECXpert at $50,000; and SellerXpert at $195,000.