Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 GE and Netscape Joint Venture




GE And Netscape Form Joint Venture-New Company to Develop Internet Software for Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce

Rockville, MD and Mountain View, Calif. (April 10, 1996) -- GE Information Services (GEIS) and Netscape Communications Corporation today announced they have established a joint venture that will develop and market software for Internet-based business-to-business electronic commerce. Benefiting from GE Information Services' market expertise as the world's leading provider of business-to-business electronic commerce services, and Netscape's leading position in developing and marketing software for the Internet, the joint venture is expected to play a pivotal role in making it possible for companies to easily use the Internet and intranets for core business transactions, thereby increasing their productivity. The company will also take an active role in promoting the development of open standards for business-to-business electronic commerce. The joint venture, named Actra Business Systems LLC (Actra), will be located in Mountain View, CA.

"Businesses stand to benefit enormously from the products of this joint venture," said Hellene Runtagh, President and CEO of GE Information Services. "Through Internet technologies, the great productivity gains of business-to-business electronic commerce that are currently enjoyed by some corporations will be made available to both large and small corporations."

"Netscape is committed to helping the corporate market reap the benefits of the Internet and intranets," said Jim Barksdale, President and CEO of Netscape. "By working with GE on this joint venture we hope to extend the Internet's benefits to business-to-business commerce. Actra opens tremendous new business opportunities and is ideally positioned to take the lead in spearheading the development and distribution of new applications that meet the very specific needs of business-to-business commerce transacted over the Internet."

Approximately 100,000 companies use EDI (electronic document interchange), a key component of business-to-business electronic commerce. According to Forrester Research, that number represents only five per cent of businesses that could benefit from the technology. By providing tools and applications that facilitate the use of the Internet and intranets by corporations, both large and small, Netscape and GE Information Services hope to expand the rapid adoption of EDI and other applications for business-to-business commerce.

Actra's mission is to develop these software applications, designed specifically to run over the Internet and intranets. These applications can help companies to reduce costs, decrease cycle times, and improve quality in core business functions. Initial product development will focus on two key areas:

  • A business document gateway to facilitate the exchange of EDI and messages between a business and its trading partners
  • A suite of server software products focusing on purchasing and supplier management, EDI, electronic product catalogs and Internet client software technology to streamline sourcing, ordering, purchasing, and the payment process from the buyer, agent, and seller sides.


Plans call for the first new applications to be available in early 1997. The joint venture will distribute its products through electronic commerce service providers, consulting firms, GE Information Services, and Netscape. The company's initial staff will be drawn from both GE Information Services and Netscape. Jim Sha, senior vice president, new ventures at Netscape, will serve as Actra's acting CEO. GE Information Services and Netscape each hold a fifty percent interest in the company.

Netscape Communications Corporation is a leading provider of open software for linking people and information over enterprise networks and the Internet. The company offers a full line of clients, servers, development tools, and commercial applications to create a complete platform for next-generation, live on-line applications. Traded on NASDAQ under the symbol "NSCP," Netscape Communications Corporation is based in Mountain View, California.

GE Information Services is a leading supplier of Business Productivity Solutions, combining electronic commerce services, inter-business process consulting, and trading community management. GE Information Services supports the world's largest trading community of over 40,000 companies, helping them improve their productivity in purchasing/supplier management, logistics, and marketing and distribution channel management. GE Information Services is one of the 12 key businesses of the General Electric Company, U.S.A..



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