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Sizing up the E-Biz Landscape

COMPANY: AOL/NETSCAPE

WHAT THEY OFFER                    HOW IT STACKS UP

CommerceXpert suite of server-     The suite is comprehensive,
software products, priced from     though not easily customized.
$75,000 to 250,000, lets a         AOL's 14 million customers will
company set up shop online and     help draw people to the portal.
swap information between           Sun's distribution of the software
employers and suppliers while      through its 7,000 salespeople
automating business tasks          also gives it a broad reach. Still,
such as inventory management.      Netscape is designed primarily
Netcenter business portal          to work on Sun's heavy-duty
provides a virtual trading arena.  Unix software.


COMPANY: MICROSOFT

WHAT THEY OFFER                    HOW IT STACKS UP

Windows NT-based programs          Not as complete an offering as
help companies on a range          Netscape's, and Unix is seen as
of E-commerce fronts, from         better able to handle scads of
setting up a storefront to         transactions. But the thousands
running a Web site. They work      of Windows developers give
with Microsoft Backoffice          companies a wide variety of
software for heavy-duty jobs       software choices and knowhow.
and with software from             Microsoft's MSN.com portal site
1,300 partners. Costs              also gives retailers an outlet
range from $25,000 to              to bring in customers, though
more than $1 million.              it trails AOL's reach.


COMPANY: IBM

WHAT THEY OFFER                    HOW IT STACKS UP

Much like Microsoft, IBM's         IBM's software works on a
Net.commerce helps companies       variety of computers, including
set up shop online and handle      different flavors of Unix and
orders. Software and services      Windows NT. Has established
can then be added from about       clients in many industries. Still,
1,000 IBM partners. Costs run      IBM lacks the portal piece to help
from $25,000 to $10 million.       merchants reach more customers.


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