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Netscape dives into the enterprise

As part of a full-scale push into the enterprise market, Netscape today introduced a suite of tools and services geared towards corporate IS professionals.

As part of a full-scale push into the enterprise market, Netscape Communications (NSCP) introduced today a suite of tools and services geared towards corporate information systems professionals.

Netscape's AppFoundry and AppFoundry Online are designed to improve the company's support and software for corporate IS developers, a market from which Netscape already derives 80 percent of its revenues. With it, the company hopes to compete more aggressively with vendors such as Microsoft and Lotus Development, which already have their feet firmly planted in most IS departments.

"We felt we needed to get people's creative juices flowing on all of the possibilities of the platform we had," said Srivats Sampath, vice president of marketing for servers, tools, and applications at Netscape. "We wanted to bring this fledgling industry of Java and JavaScript into the CIO's radar."

A free kit of software tools and sample business applications, AppFoundry is intended to jump start development of programs based on intranet and Internet software such as Web servers, browsers, Java, and JavaScript. It also dovetails with another Netscape initiative, Netscape Open Network Environment, to give developers a set of class libraries and APIs (application programming interfaces) for building networked applications.

AppFoundry also comes with a number of development tools as part of a free trial period, including: Borland International's IntraBuilder, MediaShare's Site@rchitect, NetObjects' Fusion, Netscape's LiveWire, PowerSoft's NetImpact Studio, Next Software's WebObjects, and NetDynamics.

The AppFoundry software is available for download from Netscape's Web site and on CD-ROM as well.

Netscape also launched an online companion to its new kit called AppFoundry Online. The site will include all of the AppFoundry tools and applications, as well as resource directories and discussion forums hosted by IS consultants.

According to analysts, AppFoundry is an important step towards bolstering Netscape's position in a market that is dominated by Microsoft.

"This gives people a starting point to develop applications and to get people interested in the platform," said Clay Ryder, senior industry analyst at Zona Research. "AppFoundry also demonstrates that Java can be used to do something other than make your Web pages wiggle."