CEBIT: Netscape's online service is profitable, Andreessen says

Netscape Communications' online service, Netcenter, is already a profitable venture and will account for US$25 million in revenues this quarter, said the company's executive vice president of products, Marc Andreessen, at the CeBIT trade show yesterday. Andreessen said the company's two-tiered revenue-generating approach of focusing on both its Netcenter online service and enterprise software products, now that it is giving its Communicator browser away for free, has already proved to be a successful one. This quarter, the company expects to see revenues of $US100 million in the enterprise market and $25 million from Netcenter.

Netscape Communications' online service, Netcenter, is already a profitable venture and will account for US$25 million in revenues this quarter, said the company's executive vice president of products, Marc Andreessen, at the CeBIT trade show yesterday.

Andreessen, who was speaking via a live satellite link, said the company's two-tiered revenue-generating approach of focusing on both its Netcenter online service and enterprise software products, now that it is giving its Communicator browser away for free, has already proved to be a successful one. This quarter, the company expects to see revenues of $100 million in the enterprise market and $25 million from Netcenter.

Netcenter -- the name for Netscape's homepage that includes content and services -- receives 13 million visitors on average a day and has 3.6 million registered users, Andreessen said. Because Netscape chose to partner with companies, such as news providers and airline reservation services -- instead of launching the services and developing the content on its own as competitor Microsoft Corp. did -- it has been able to make the service profitable quickly, Andreessen said.

"We're not sinking a huge amount of money into Netcenter," Andreessen said. Instead, the company is signing partnerships agreements with other companies to act more like an aggregator of content and services, he said. "We are very friendly with the people Microsoft is competing against," Andreessen said.

Also at CeBIT, Netscape released its Communicator 4.5 browser in German. Available here in April, the client software will include support for the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) content rating system, the company said. PICS allows parents or IS managers to control the sites that kids or employees visit by excluding ones with objectionable content. Web publishers rate their sites according to PICS guidelines so that browsers can recognize which sites fall into which categories, such as those including violence or sexual material, Netscape said.

In addition, Netscape announced a Universal Localisation program, a tool kit developers can use, along with the freely-available Netscape source code on the Web, to localise Netscape Communicator and Navigator. Users of the localization kit will be able to freely distribute the localised products they create without paying a licensing fee, the company said. Aimed at developing emerging markets, the idea is to make it easier to create versions of Netscape client software in languages that the company doesn't already support. The program will be available on Netscape's developers Web site at http://www.mozilla.org/ starting in April.

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