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Sun Unveils Strategic Post-Netscape Plans

America Online Inc. (AOL, www.aol.com) and Sun Microsystems Inc. (www.sun.com) today released strategic plans for the post-Netscape era. The new era is being referred to as the Sun-Netscape Alliance. The companies focused on their e-commerce infrastructure and application software products, while touching on specific details about the organizational structure in sales, services and support.

First they plan to develop a unified, next-generation product line on an accelerated timeline and ship their first collaborative product by the first quarter 2000. Then they'll sell the suite of products on multiple platforms.

"There are two big phenomena that make this strategic alliance a compelling opportunity," says Barry Schuler, president of AOL interactive services. "Consumers are coming online in droves and accelerating e-commerce. Second, businesses are embracing network computing on top of Internet standards as the architecture for all of their back-end systems."

With the Sun-Netscape Alliance, the companies hope to unveil a family of e-commerce applications available on all platforms, including HP-UX, IBM-AIX, Linux, Windows NT/2000 and of course Sun Solaris. The infrastructure product portfolio includes messaging and calendar, collaboration, Web, applications, directory and certificate servers. Sun hopes these e-commerce applications provide as much growth to its "Net Economy" as packaged enterprise applications, i.e. SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle, provide the ERP market.

In the messaging and collaboration category, Netscape and Sun will both release another of each other's respective products before a collaborative piece makes its way to market in the first quarter 2000. For the Alliance's directory, security and management servers, it will use Netscape's directory product and will augment it with technology features from Sun. The Alliance already released the latest version of Sun's NetDynamics application server. An additional release of Netscape's app server is due for release later this year. The Alliance will release a combined product early next year. Future enhancements of the Netscape Communicator product line are being developed by AOL. -- Brian Ploskina, Assistant Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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