Netscape's drive for ecommerce credibility received a dramatic boost yesterday when Citibank announced a worldwide licensing agreement based around Netscape's Internet commerce software.
Citibank, America's largest bank with operations in 100 countries, will license Netscape's Commerce Xpert family of software to provide the infrastructure of its ecommerce sites, and for constructing Intranets and Extranets.
The bank, which currently has a home banking service on the Internet, plans to offer services based on Netscape products as an additional feature for business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients. Both companies declined to put a figure on the value of the deal.
"Our goal of extending Citibank's global reach depends on launching global electronic commerce products and services," said Ed Horowitz, executive vice president of Citibank. "This agreement with Netscape provides us with the tools to accelerate the development of these applications for corporations and consumers." With Netscape desperate to reposition itself alongside IBM and HP as an ecommerce solutions provider - instead of just a browser vendor - the deal is a marketing coup.
"This demonstrates the momentum behind Netsacpe's strategy of enabling enterprises to act as service providers by delivering a full range of applications to internal and external customers," said Jim Barksdale, president and CEO of Netscape.
In 1997, AT&T was one of Netscape's early clients for its ecommerce software range. Kevin Watson, UK director of product management for AT&T's ecommerce division warned other IT directors over potential marketing pitfalls when implementing ecommerce services.
"There have been well documented cases of retailers going online and failing to pay enough attention to their new commerce site. Companies need to make sure that their direct Internet sales channel doesn't clash with indirect sales channels," he said.
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