Netscape keen to expand, not abandon local market

Netscape has leapt to assure users that it is not abandoning the New Zealand market, but an Australian official admits the company does need to put more energy in on this side of the Tasman. As well as touting the high-end Netscape Application Server and its SuiteSpot and Commerce Expert products, Netscape has plans to localise its Netcenter Web portal, possibly in collaboration with its OEM partner, Xtra.

Netscape has leapt to assure users that it is not abandoning the New Zealand market, but an Australian official admits the company does need to put more energy in on this side of the Tasman.

Netscape Australasia marketing manager Imogen Boas says the company, which has suffered staff cuts and a change of leadership, has been preparing its reworked product range this year and is now ready to go to the local market.

As well as touting the high-end Netscape Application Server and its SuiteSpot and Commerce Expert products, Netscape has plans to localise its Netcenter Web portal, possibly in collaboration with its OEM partner, Xtra.

Ironically, the press release issued by the company "refuting" a Computerworld story saying that it was no longer working with New Zealand distributor Express Data (formerly Com Tech) has provided it with a higher local profile than it has enjoyed in the past nine months.

"I think we'd like to have spent more time [in New Zealand]," says Boas.

"But we are a small team on the ground in Australia. There wasn't much point in ramping up activity before we had this new product set to sell, because we knew that we were going to be changing what we were selling. "In Australia we've basically streamlined channels to reflect our newer product sets, and some have fallen away because they're no longer able to make money selling Communicator. That process is something that's now happening in New Zealand, so I wouldn't say we've neglected the market. I would say that we do need to put more energy into it, and we will be."

Express Data country manager Ian Jansen said at a recent press briefing that Netscape had "bigger fish to fry than in New Zealand". But Boas insists Netscape has a solid agreement in place with Express Data in New Zealand. "We're very happy they've adopted the model they already use successfully in Australia, because that means that we can synch in with all their marketing programmes."

Boas says Netscape is happy with New Zealand product manager Tony Williams. "We'll be meeting him shortly to work out which resellers we target in New Zealand."

Boas says Netscape has a number of six-figure deals in progress with New Zealand companies.

She says the company hopes to be able to announce one of them soon — "and there are a couple of others in the pipeline with our Commerce Expert products".

Plans to localise Netcenter will almost certainly include search engine company Excite, and Boas says there is a high probability Netscape will want to work with Xtra, too. "In each market we select what we consider to be the premier supplier and hope they'd like to come and do business with us."

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