Netscape has responded to criticism of its lack of support for corporate customers with the introduction of a new certification programme. Under the Netscape Authorised Support Provider (NASP) programme, Netscape resellers will be able to sell and provide technical support services. The scheme mimics similar strategies from Microsoft and Novell. In addition, Netscape announced Subscription+, a bundle of support services tailored to small and medium firms, VARs and system integrators. At its European developers' conference last year, the company came under fire from users complaining of an absence of support staff. At that time, Netscape's then UK managing director, Steve Voller, admitted that the company's consultants were overworked. "A year ago they (Netscape) didn't seem to have a clue (on support)," commented Beth Barling, a consultant at research firm Ovum. "It's about time." The support announcements accompanied Netscape's reaffirmation of its status as a server software vendor, with the launch of SuiteSpot 3.5. The company made it clear that the "browser wars" with Microsoft had been an unnecessary distraction. By giving the browser and its source code away free, Netscape hopes to attract more server revenues. SuiteSpot 3.5 introduces new features and support for LDAP version 3 throughout the package, so all servers use the Directory Server to store user information, rights and profiles. New HTML-based "Express" clients have been added for the Messaging and Calendar servers, with intelligent referral and international character support. The new Directory Server includes replication, failover and hardware acceleration for SSL. The Messaging Server has also been tweaked, and now includes an Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE) filter. Enterprise Server, the Web server component, now supports virtual servers and includes support for Symmetric Multi Processing (SMP). Netscape also introduced BuyerXpert, an addition to the CommerceXpert suite of Ecommerce applications based on technology from its Actra acquisition. SuiteSpot 3.5 is available this month and will cost $82 (#49.70) per user for the Standard Edition, and $140 (#84.85) for the Professional Edition.
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