Netscape Communications has partnered with France Telecom to offer small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and corporates a range of ecommerce products.
The move is a wake up call to other telcos and ISPs, claims Netscape. Its agreement with France Telecom, which is worth around $4 million, is unique, but not exclusive, Ken Hart, Netscape?s business manager for telcos said today.
?Up until now SMEs have been hard for telcos to go after,? explained Hart. ?With our solutions they can build trading communities for SMEs and large corporate hubs.?
Hart claims that this is a much more lucrative business than running after free subscription ISPs that are mushrooming in the UK right now. ?Is it a wake-up call for BT? It is a wake up call for all telcos,? he said.
France Telecom claims to be selling two hosted Intranets a day at the moment and expects the figure to grow rapidly.
Hart confirmed that it is talking to other possible customers in Europe.
?In parallel to working with France Telecom we will continue talking directly with other large companies and potential partners,? he said.
Hart said that he did not view Microsoft as a major threat in this marketplace: ?Microsoft wants Windows everywhere, it does not want outsourcing everywhere,? explained Hart.
?Windows NT is not stable enough,? added Hart. ?A Gartner Group study said no phone company in its right mind would go with NT - their businesses are based on reliability?.
Netscape?s solutions work on several platforms, including Unix and Windows NT.
France Telecom will be offering encrypted ecommerce solutions based around Netscape Commercexpert range from the second quarter of this year. France Telecom will offer its customers the possibility of hosting not only their own ecommerce sites, but also those of their clients and suppliers. The solutions will be based around secure global networks, Hart said.
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