Netscape is hoping to drive sales of its enterprise software by offering companies the members of its Netcenter portal site as a ready-made customer base.
The firm has outlined ambitious plans to convert the 70 million-plus users of its Navigator browser into members of its Netcenter portal site, by building new features into the browser and releasing a redesigned Netcenter next month.
Netcenter 2.0 will feature a faster-loading front page which borrows a lot of the design of its rival, Yahoo!, with content channels to the left bordered by a newsfeed. Other features include a customisable desktop area called My Netscape, the new Netscape search engine powered by Excite, and boasting unified messaging, chat and customisable homepages.
Services for consumers will include a Netscape and third party software update facility called Smart Update, financial services based on a Netscape credit card, and communications services offered through telecommunications partners.
By offering enhanced browsing capabilities coupled with a greatly expanded set of services and personalisation features on Netcenter, Netscape hopes to attract and retain the installed base of Navigator users as members of Netcenter. The company can then use this huge customer base to lure enterprise customers to Netcenter, and showcase its own enterprise software.
IDC analyst Juliana Nelson approves. "One need only look at the Netcenter Web site to see how effective these products are at dealing with more than four million unique page views per day," she said.
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