FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Computer Reseller News (CRN)
4:00 p.m. EST Fri., May 16, 1997
Actra To Roll Out E-Commerce Line
By Michael Kanellos
Actra Business Systems LLC will make its formal entry
into the electronic-commerce market Monday by unveiling the
plans on the five products that will make up its
And although Actra is planning to build up its
direct-sales force around these products, Netscape
Communications Corp.'s vice president of channel management,
John Hahn, maintains that the Actra line will go through the
The CrossCommerce line consists of ECXpert, an electronic
data interchange (EDI) system that can handle Internet
communications; OrderXpert Seller and OrderXpert Buyer, two
similar Internet systems that support EDI; and the Merchant
and Publishing system transferred to Actra from Netscape.
"These products are aimed at high-cost, high-volume
transactions with a low value associated with them," said
Ray Rike, vice president of sales and marketing for Actra.
Office-supply purchases, for instance, are a target
application because supplies can be bought without much
thought, although the requisition and processing costs can
run from $50 to $150.
Actra is a Santa Clara, Calif.-based joint venture of
Netscape and General Electric Information Systems. Started a
year ago, the company is, effectively, Netscape's E-commerce
ECXpert and the two OrderXperts are all new products and
are aimed at the business-to-business commerce market. A
beta for ECXpert is due out late in the second quarter.
Pricing for the final product should start at $25,000 for a
single-processor copy, Rike said. Betas for the higher-end
OrderXpert Seller and Buyer are due, respectively, in the
third and fourth quarters. They will start at $150,000 to
$250,000 for two-processor models.
A beta of the 2.0 version of the Publishing System will
be released in the third quarter, according to the company,
while a beta for the 2.0 version of the Merchant System will
arrive in the fourth quarter.
Later in the year, Actra will begin to incorporate push
functionality through Netcaster, Netscape's upcoming push
application, in these products. "This will be a critical
differentiation," Rike said.
In the future, Actra also will add functionality so that
third-party catalogs and configuration modules can be
plugged into the systems.
In addition, Actra will release a toolkit for VARs aimed
at making hosting sites easier. "Hosting is more common for
business-to-consumer sites than business-to-business sites,"