The Sun/Netscape Alliance said on Tuesday that it plans to merge both companies? Internet software into a single product line to try and take on IBM and Microsoft in the ecommerce space.
The compact between Sun and Netscape was introduced last November as part of a three way deal that included Netscape?s acquisition by America Online (AOL).
But last week, it was announced that the Alliance would operate like an independent software company or joint venture and would have its own management team and 2,000 staff that would remain on either AOL?s or Sun?s payroll respectively.
The Sun/Netscape Alliance, as it has been named, will sell a full range of ecommerce software from both vendors, but by the first quarter of next year, will ship a single, merged product line that will run on a range of operating systems, including Windows NT.
Ed Zander, Sun?s chief operating officer, said: "We want to be the dot com software company."
And analysts were generally impressed by the Alliance?s product plans. Martin Marshall, director of Zona Research?s Internet server service, said: "It?s the first time we?ve seen Sun be as wide ranging as IBM. What Sun is saying is that by next year, you can go to it for everything."
Critics had formerly indicated that there was too much overlap between Sun and Netscape?s product lines because both had an application server and mail server, for example. But this would now appear to have been resolved only two weeks after the Alliance officially started work.
In most instances, the organisation has selected either a Netscape or Sun product for its merged product line rather than attempting to merge code bases.
For example, Netscape?s mail server will form the basis of the new Alliance Mail Server 5.0, which is due to ship in the first quarter of 2000. Its LDAP directory server will also become the Alliance Directory Server.
But Sun?s Netdynamics Application Server and Netscape?s equivalent offering, which it acquired from Kiva, will be merged into a single product.
This is expected to be a relatively simple task, however, as both are based on Java and Enterprise Java Beans (EJB). Version 6.0 of the Alliance Application Server is also scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2000.
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