SAN MATEO (06/30/2000) - Online grocery vendor Webvan Group Inc., in Foster City, California, this week announced a deal to acquire rival, in Kirkland, Washington, in a stock transaction valued at approximately US$1.2 billion. The combined company will operate under the Webvan name, and is expected to extend Webvan's market reach to 13 metropolitan areas in the United States by year-end, according to the two companies. Those areas include Atlanta; Baltimore; Bergen County, New Jersey; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington.

Microsoft Corp. has announced the release of the beta version of Commerce Server 2000. With the new release, Microsoft aims to give users the ability to quickly build Web sites with rich business-to-business and business-to-customer functionality. Formerly called Site Server Commerce Edition, Commerce Server 2000 is expected to ship by the end of the year. The software, a key piece of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft's DNA (Distributed interNet Architecture) 2000 architecture, offers wizard-based Web site creation tools as well as templates to build components, such as catalogs.

SBC Communications Inc. unveiled this week a network management modeling service for large corporate customers. Dubbed Enterprise Designer, the service allows a corporate network manager to map out a computer model of LANs and WANs on a PC or laptop to predict the impact that new applications and traffic patterns will have on corporate networks. The service is a blend of network mapping and simulation capabilities that San Antonio, Texas-based SBC garnered by harnessing software from Netformx, in Los Gatos, California, and OPNET Technologies, in Washington.

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