Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 Buying, Selling, Merchandising over the Internet






Actra's CrossCommerce Portfolio Includes Business-to-Business and
Business-to-Consumer Internet Commerce Applications
Designed to Commercialize the Internet


SUNNYVALE, CA - May 19, 1997 -- Actra, a joint venture between GE Information Services and Netscape Communications Corporation, today announced Actra CrossCommerce, a cross platform family of Internet commerce applications that focus on the external business processes of buying, selling and merchandising over the Internet. Actra CrossCommerce consists of five products: ECXpert, OrderXpert Seller, OrderXpert Buyer, MerchantXpert and PublishingXpert. Actra CrossCommerce is the only commerce family built from the ground up on Internet standards that delivers total solutions to both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets.

"Looking at the entire ecosystem for Internet commerce, Actra CrossCommerce focuses on wringing the cost out of external business processes and improving customer service. Companies are looking for a way to cash in on the Internet by improving top line revenue and bottom line returns in the commerce cycle, from both the supply and demand sides. Actra CrossCommerce and the Internet enables that to happen," said Jim Sha, president and CEO of Actra.

"Internet commerce is about managing high volume business transactions and making inter-business processes run more efficiently to save money. Actra CrossCommerce helps companies do that," added Sha.

Actra CrossCommerce, provides an industry standard solution that focuses on the needs of Fortune 1,000 companies implementing inter-enterprise Internet commerce application solutions with their customers, partners, suppliers and consumers. Actra CrossCommerce also addresses businesses that provide Internet retailing and information publishing services in a multi-hosting model.

Customers seeking tailored solutions that integrate with existing enterprise systems, while also protecting EDI investments and extending them to the Internet, can acquire Actra CrossCommerce product-by-product and in step with their growing Internet commerce needs.


The Actra CrossCommerce Advantage

Providing scalability that allows Internet commerce growth, Actra CrossCommerce offers a customizable, flexible solution for facilitating inter-enterprise commerce activities. Fully object-oriented using Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), Actra CrossCommerce is based on open, interoperable Internet standards including Internet Inter-ORB protocol (IIOP), S/MIME, SSL, EDIINT.

Java and leverages Netscapeís CrossWare technology. The Actra CrossCommerce Java-based interface enables any user, anywhere, to manage their own activities based on access privileges, while preserving control, security and audit of enterprise assets. Actra CrossCommmerce gives customers with tightly integrated back-end commerce objects that provide for information consistency, integrity and control as well as common implementation and administration. A customer can take advantage of this synergistic approach to the back-end architecture without having to buy all products within the CrossCommerce portfolio. Robust commerce objects in Actra CrossCommerce include procurement, order management, EDI, customer identity management, publishing and merchandising. Actra CrossCommerce will run out of the box but has been architected with significant flexibility to allow customization to take place without source code modification.

"Actra CrossCommerce fills a void in the marketplace by providing buyers and sellers with flexible solutions to communicate more easily and effectively during Internet transactions," said Laurie Beeson, vice president of marketing, Boise Cascade Office products. Boise is a global business-to-business distributor of office products that has piloted two Actra CrossCommerce products, ECXpert and OrderXpert Seller.

"Actra's new applications will enable both buyers and sellers to develop more customized and efficient processes to manage Internet purchasing," added Beeson.

Commenting on Actraís business strategy and Actra CrossCommerce applications solution portfolio, Mike Kennedy, vice president of the Advanced Information Management division at Meta Group said, "Actra CrossCommerce is addressing a space in the market that is potentially huge, and growing - the Internet commerce applications space. The solid, well thought out, extensible architecture that leverages open standards - such as CORBA and IIOP - on which Actra CrossCommerce is built, makes Actra an interesting proposition for any Fortune 1000 company looking to extend its Internet commerce activities."


Actraís Technology & Business Expertise/Heritage

Dedicated to providing Internet commerce application solutions that address the needs of inter-enterprise business communications and transactions, Actra is focused on its core competencies. It leverages Netscapeís leading open technology platform for network-centric computing and GEISí industry expertise and customer experiences and requirements for mission critical electronic commerce services. Netscape and GEIS also offer a critical distribution channel for Actra CrossCommerce. With presence in over 45 countries through Netscapeís and GEIS sales force, Actra leverages a very solid distribution foundation for sales, services and support. The combined presence of GEIS and Netscape in Fortune 1000 accounts using both EDI, as an existing electronic commerce infrastructure, and Intranet software, is a distinct advantage for Actra.

"Actra CrossCommerce is the first business-to-business Internet commerce solution to leverage Netscape's Crossware architecture, designed to make the Networked Enterprise a reality," said Marc Andreessen, senior vice president of technology at Netscape, "Actra CrossCommerce is a solution set that enables the extranet and facilitates real commercial use of the Internet. Actra builds on the success of the Netscape commercial applications in the business to consumer space, and goes one step further to address the growing market needs of the business to business space. As a distribution channel for Actra CrossCommerce, Netscape is excited by the opportunity that this new product family will generate for our customers."


Industry Backing

Actra has formed relationships with key technology leaders in different areas of the industry. These include Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, KPMG, and Ernst & Young. Actra has played a significant role in the MasterCard consortium to pilot a standard-based secure Internet system for buying, selling and purchasing globally, as well as actively driving the Open Buying on The Internet (OBI) standard chaired by SupplyWorks. Actra is also the leading participant in the CommerceNet Internet Interoperability pilot that has successfully tested software product support of EDI and security standards to promote the use of the Internet for electronic commerce.

Commenting on Actra's leadership role in driving the EDIINT standard, Rik Drummond, chairman of the EDI Workgroup for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) said, "I am really pleased to see Actra's hard work and effort in driving the EDIINT standard pay off in the delivery of ECXpert to the market place. Actra has been a major contributor in both the interoperability tests that were sponsored

by CommerceNet as well as its role in the EDI Workgroup consortium. This really is a first for the industry and helps take the theory of EDI over the Internet to reality."

Actra also believes in integrating industry-leading technology from third parties in selected functional areas. Actra has relationships in those areas with the following: Cadis, CyberCash, Verity, PLS, NetGravity, TSI, RogueWave, Visigenics, VeriSign, TaxWare International, NetObjects, RSA and Seagate.

The Actra CrossCommerce Product Family

ECXpert: EDI for the Internet -- The foundation product of Actra's CrossCommerce portfolio, ECXpert enables companies to build and deploy Internet-centric electronic commerce programs that provide secure communications, standards-based, interoperable technology, wide accessibility, reduced implementation and operational costs, and protection of legacy system investments.

OrderXpert: Corporate Buying and Selling On The Internet -- OrderXpert Seller enables corporations to establish an online selling presence for their corporate clients, helping corporations increase top line revenue, lower operating costs and provide improved customer service. OrderXpert Seller is a full-featured product including comprehensive order management, seller and buyer maintained customer identity management, flexible payment options, next-generation electronic product catalog, full data transformation and EDI capability.

OrderXpert Buyer complements OrderXpert Seller as an Internet procurement system that operates in a multi-supplier, inter-enterprise environment. Using OrderXpert Buyer, corporations can streamline business processes by dramatically reducing order processing and material costs while minimizing manual buyer intervention on low-value, high-volume transactions.

MerchantXpert: Internet Retailing -- MerchantXpert leverages the advanced order management capabilities and object infrastructure built into OrderXpert Seller and applies this technology to the retailing world. MerchantXpert, the next release of Netscape Merchant System, is currently used by companies such as REI, Sportsline and Travelocity and allows companies to provide online, personalized Internet storefronts supporting dynamic one-to-one presentations and product and promotional displays, and includes features to utilize customer buying profile information.

PublishingXpert: Comprehensive Extranet Publishing Solution -- PublishingXpert, the next release of Netscape Publishing System, uses push technology coupled with a profiler to provide a complete, end-to-end, business solution for publishing information on the Internet allowing companies to share and sell their knowledge capital. It provides a completely customizable and flexible, turnkey solution that accelerates the time involved in bringing new online services to market. Customers include Sweden Post and The New York Times.


Pricing and Availability

Actra CrossCommerce products are individually priced based on a per processor pricing model. For more information on Actra CrossCommerce please call Actra on 408 542 3183, Netscape on 1- 800-638-7483, GEIS on 1-800-560-4347 or visit Actraís website at Outside the US and Canada please contact a Netscape or GEIS representative.


About Actra

Founded in April 1996, Actra is a joint venture between Netscape Communications Corporation and GE Information Services (GEIS). Benefiting from GEISí market expertise as the worldís leading provider of business-to-business Internet commerce services and Netscapeís leading position in developing and marketing software for the Internet, Actra provides next-generation Internet commerce applications solutions for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business commerce markets. Additionally, Actra is taking an active role in promoting open standards for Internet commerce.


CrossCommerce, ECXpert and, OrderXpert, are trademarks of Actra. MerchantXpert and PublishingXpert are trademarks of Netscape Communications Corporation. All other products mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Media Contacts:


Suzanne Burnip

(408) 542-3181

Golin/Harris Technologies

Becky Wood

(415) 904-7000, x276




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