Sun-Netscape Intro i-Planet Brand



The Sun Microsystems-Netscape alliance moved to clarify its position in the market today by saying it will rename its products under the i-Planet brand. The venture, which is jointly operated by Sun and America Online's Netscape division, will gradually rename existing and new products such as its application, directory, and messaging servers.

"The whole point behind launching a product brand ... is to give some distinctive position to what we do," said Mark Tolliver, president of the alliance. "I-Planet is our brand name." The alliance hopes this step will remove the considerable confusion in the marketplace about the convergence of the Sun and Netscape products and technologies.

Revenue for the alliance was $128 million for the quarter ended June 30, says J. Michael Kelly, CFO at America Online, which reported its financial results yesterday. AOL beat Wall Street's expectations and reported net earnings of $156 million on revenue of $1.4 billion for the company's fourth quarter ended June 30. Earnings per share were 13 cents a share, compared with 5 cents a share a year ago. Analysts had anticipated earnings of 11 cents a share.

The AOL membership machine continued to chug along, as it added 755,000 users in the quarter and 5 million customers in the past year. The company has said recently that it expects to get much of its future growth overseas, but most of the fourth-quarter growth occurred in the United States as the company pulled back on some overseas promotions and wrestled with new competitors in Britain that are offering free Internet access. AOL responded this week by announcing its own free Internet-access service in Britain called Netscape Online.

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