Netscape Opens Doors For E-Stores On Small Business Channel

Joining a number of other portals on the Web looking at small businesses as a large market share, Netscape Communications (NYSE: AOL) announced Tuesday that it has developed an online solution for small businesses on its Netscape Small Business Channel.

The company said it teamed up with Netopia, Inc.(Nasdaq: NTPA) to offer E-Store on its Netscape Virtual Office version 3.5 by Netopia.

In addition to all the bells and whistles of e-commerce tools for small businesses to build an online store, Netscape said a key feature of the package was “eBusinessBasics,” a seven-step system that lets small businesses establish a Web presence, attract new customers, promote their business and begin selling products online.

Upgrade Or New Service

The package is available as an upgrade to Netscape Virtual Office customers, who are being offered a 30-day free trial. If they choose to opt for the E-Store package, Netscape said the price would be $59.95 (US$) monthly or a pre-paid annual fee of $599.

New customers to the Netscape Virtual Office platform can also conduct a 30-day trial and then pay $19.95 monthly or an annual fee of $199 if they opt to buy the package.

“The Netscape Virtual Office E-Store feature will enable small businesses to easily create an Internet storefront and begin to sell goods or services online,” said Netscape VP, Jerrell Jimerson. “Netscape continues to simplify the Internet and enable the burgeoning small business market with the information and tools they need to successfully grow their business online.”

Two Nets In a Pod

Netscape and Netopia fit hand in hand on this new venture. Alameda, California-based Netopia helped build the Netscape Center portal and has teamed up with Intuit, McAfee and Concetric Network as well.

The company has also signed strategic partnerships with hundreds of ISPs, including France Telecom, Telecom Italia, Bell Atlantic, PSINet and many more.

Netscape has evolved from a browser to an online erudite, with its Netscape portal attracting some 19 million users monthly. The company was purchased by AOL in one of the industry’s more memorable acquisitions.

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