Netscape scores Citibank global licence deal

In what could be a needed boost for Netscape Communications, the company announced that Citibank would build its future electronic commerce infrastructure around Netscape's e-commerce software.

Banking behemoth Citibank will license Netscape's CommerceXpert family of software, as well as Netscape's server software, including Application Server for building custom business applications and SuiteSpot server for deploying intranets and extranets, Netscape officials said.

Citibank now offers home banking services on the Internet with its Direct Access product, but the deal with Netscape will let the company offer additional services, for both businesses and consumers, Citibank officials said.

"Our goal is to extend our global reach and extend our customer base," said Ed Horowitz, corporate executive vice president of Citibank. "We've got to be able to be the most pre-eminent provider of products that are going to be required, and that is going to be information and tracking as well as financial."

Citibank officials declined to offer specifics about what services the company is moving toward providing.

Instead, they pointed to the specific functions of the software Citibank is licensing from Netscape. For example, within Netscape's CommerceXpert line, ECXpert is designed to automate corporate procurement, and PublishingXpert aims to automate customer service, they said.

Citibank has a presence in 100 countries, and the licence is worldwide, Citibank officials said. They declined to say how much the licence agreement was worth.

The licence agreement is something of a departure for Citibank, which has previously preferred to build its applications in-house, Citibank officials said.

It will do some customisation of Netscape's software, and third-party developers will be involved in the deployment of the company's e-commerce infrastructure, according to officials from the companies.

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