In a renewed effort to make electronic commerce a short-term reality, Netscape Communications today announced plans to incorporate a digital wallet into Navigator for organizing credit card, digital certificate, and other private information.
The wallet, which will be integrated into Navigator by the fourth quarter, will work in conjunction with LivePayment, a newly announced server application designed to turn Netscape Web servers into Internet cash registers.
If and when electronic commerce becomes more prevalent on the Net, users are expected to have a bewildering array of payment solutions to choose from, including credit cards, electronic cash that debits online acccounts, and electronic micropayment solutions for small sums, maybe eventually even sums less than a penny.
Netscape's wallet technology will allow users to keep track of the PIN numbers and other data associated with each such payment solution, as well as store receipts. The receipt can then be exported to personal financial software such as Intuit's Quicken.
Netscape officials said the company is working with partners to create a standard of its electronic wallet technology but so far declines to name them.
The company did say, however, that a number of electronic payment processing and software vendors have lined up behind its LivePayment system, including CyberCash, VeriFone, MasterCard, Wells Fargo, and others. LivePayment will also support existing protocols including the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and the Secure Electronic Transactions (SET) protocol under development now by Mastercard and Visa for credit card payments.
LivePayment will take technology that is now part of Netscape's high-end Commercial Application family and make it available as a standalone product for accepting credit card payments from online customers. The software was originally demonstrated at Netscape's Internet Developer Conference last March under the code name "Cash Register" and is part of a push by Netscape to offer advanced server features as stand-alone, relatively low-priced components, as well as offering comprehensive but high-priced server bundles.
LivePayment is expected to cost $2,995 and be available for Unix and Windows NT in the third quarter. In contrast, pricing for Netscape's Commercial Application family, which includes Publishing System, Merchant System, and Community System, starts at $63,000.
Netscape is continuing to enhance these Commercial Applications as well. Today, the company announced version 1.5 of all three applications, which all now feature better integration with legacy data bases, according to the company. The upgraded versions will be available for Unix in the third quarter.
Netscape tackles Web commerce