Software Vendor Touts Simplicity on the Web

TAIPEI (06/14/2000) - Taiwanese software vendor InfoPower Corp. this week is showing off a set of tools designed to let non-technical users gather and present data as they choose and make it available across a corporate intranet or the Internet.

InfoPower was one of few companies to demonstrate products at the World Congress on Information Technology here, which concludes Wednesday. It is doubly distinctive as a software vendor in this country, where the local IT industry is dominated by hardware manufacturers.

InfoPower's QuickPro suite includes applications for easily organizing information from databases and for displaying the information on Web pages that can include text, images, marquees and links to resources on the Web and corporate servers.

The tools are intended as complements to ERP (enterprise resource planning) and customer relationship management (CRM) software, which helps guide operations planning, transaction processing and responses to inquires, said Benjamin Lin, managing director of InfoPower.

QuickPro gives high-level planners a way to arrange information as they wish, on an ad hoc basis, for strategic planning, Lin said.

"We hide all the complicated technology," Lin said.

InfoPower demonstrated tools for creating tables and graphs out of information from multiple databases, using only check boxes, menus, and dragging and dropping elements. It also showed software that lets non-technical users design Web pages and pull in content using a similar graphical interface.

QuickPro will go on the market in Taiwan by the end of this year, initially for Windows 2000 and later for Linux and most Unix platforms, Lin said. InfoPower will work with database vendors to provide support for their software, he added.

The company is also exploring the Japan market, Lin said, and InfoPower plans to bring the software to Europe and the U.S. after further refinement.

Lin formed InfoPower in 1995 after stints at IBM Corp. and Informix Corp. in Taiwan. The company currently sells EZcontent, a multimedia software engine for capturing, organizing and accessing content. It also produces three applications for easy creation of Web pages: QuickBiz, HomeWeb and KidsWeb. Lin projected revenue this year of approximately US$4 million.

Taiwan has spawned relatively few international software companies because few designers on the island can create a world-class interface, Lin said. Security software vendor Trend Micro Inc. and multimedia design vendor U-Lead Systems Inc. are rare exceptions, he added.

"Taiwan has a lot of software companies, but because of the market requirements, it's easier to market (local software) to Taiwanese customers," he said.

The practice of manufacturing based on designs and ideas from outside, which has been highly successful in Taiwan's hardware industry, doesn't make a good business model for software companies, Lin said.

"The software industry is harder than the hardware industry because we can't copy other people's concepts," Lin said. "Without invention or creativity, the profit margin is much less."

InfoPower is in Taipei and can be reached at +886-2-2547-3058 or online at http://www.infopowercorp.com.

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