Software, Services For E-tailers Abound In RetailVision Displays

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ORLANDO, FLA. -- Companies with applications and services to help vendors and retailers expand and manage their e-business had a high-profile presence at RetailVision this year.

Cyberspace HQ at the end of September will start shipping Website Promoter 4.0. This title is designed to help consumers and businesses improve their site's presence on the Internet by tracking how a particular site is being ranked by different search engines, said Dr. David Bang, a founder of Cyberspace HQ.

"The software continually analyzes the engines and can make suggestions on how to improve a site to increase traffic," Bang said, adding the analysis is done by keeping tabs on what keywords people are using to find a site and where in the Internet visitors are coming from.

The software can automatically implement the suggested changes and also keeps track of who is coming to a site, how many hits the site is getting and what is being viewed.

Website Promoter 4.0 will carry a $69.99 suggested retail price.

Linux software developer Chilliware is gearing up for what CEO Kenneth Eppers believes will be a huge boom in sales of Linux desktop applications by readying for release several titles geared toward consumers.

In December, Chilliware will start shipping Sculpter and Nexus and will follow those in early 2001 with three more titles.

Eppers said Sculpter is a desktop publishing tool designed to compete with Quark, while Nexus is a contact manager application and e-mail client. Both will have suggested retail prices below $79.

The titles coming next year include a Linux Web browser that combines features from Netscape and Internet Explorer, another e-mail client and a video player, Eppers said.

The market for Linux software, estimated now at about 12 percent of the installed base of PCs, will grow at around 3 percent per month, Eppers said, with the interest Dell and IBM have shown in Linux further boosting its presence in the market.

"There is so much buzz right now about Linux in the media that consumers are getting curious," said Chilliware's chief exec. "So soon there will be a huge market for consumer applications."

Palo Alto Software will add to its line of business-improvement software in November when it starts shipping Web Strategy Pro, a software application designed to help a company improve its online business. "We are marketing this to those with a Web business that isn't succeeding, or to people with a start-up business," said national marketing manager Luke Welch.

The title, which will have a suggested retail price in the $90 range, can point out an e-businesses technology and marketing problems so a newcomer knows where to concentrate their problem-solving efforts. Upcoming versions will have customized content to deal with specific types of businesses. To supplement the software, customers can download additional information from Palo Alto's website.

Palo Alto also has new versions of its Business Planning Pro and Marketing Plan Pro due out by the end of 2000 and early 2001.

LapLink debuted its first true consumer software title, called PC Sync, which includes a migration wizard for transferring all one's personal files from computer to computer.

The product was inspired by statistics showing that 30 percent of U.S. households now have multiple computers and that 85 percent of computer purchases this year are repeat purchases, the company said.

PC Sync can transfer 500MB in 14 minutes. It comes with a high-speed USB cable and serial cable and will ship next month at a suggested retail price of $79. A $20 mail-in rebate is available if purchased within 30 days of buying a new computer.

Also new from LapLink is LapLink Gold, a revision of its file-transfer/remote-access software that adds a USB network cable at $169, plus a $70 competitive upgrade coupon for owners of current LapLink or competitive software titles.

Elibrium in first-quarter 2001 will launch several titles that use the model developed by Netscape of selling access to a service that is also available for free on the Internet. The Elibrium titles will include eProspects, which handles e-mail blasts for businesses, and Agillion, a Web-based customer-relationship manager. Suggested retail prices will range between $59 and $89.

VP/general manager Christina Willett said that using the Netscape strategy allows Elibrium to offer its strength of selling software at retail to the online companies whose services can be hard for a small business owner to discover. "Retail is where the SOHO customer shops, and Elibrium has found it is much less expensive acquiring customers through retail then general advertising," she said.

To entice retailers into carrying the titles, Elibrium is offering them a residual profit when a customer purchases a title and then signs up for one of the services.

BizNetCard will enter its first product into retail on Oct. 1 with the shipment of a title that allows businesses to create small CD-Rs that act as multimedia business cards. A BizNetCard gives users the ability to hand over a great deal of information to a potential customer in an extremely portable fashion, said sales representative Phil Weber.

The product will come with 12 50MB CD-R discs that are about the same shape and size as a standard business card, along with software for burning text, animation, multimedia demonstrations and any other information onto the CD-R.

Two SKUs will be available, one with a $49 suggested retail price that will include a CD label applicator, and another for $29, without the applicator.

Softzoo.com was at RetailVision fishing for software publishers to join them in a venture that would allow consumers to find a particular software title for the lowest price. The service, which went online earlier this month, regularly checks pricing and availability for a software title from about 15 different e-tailers, said Softzoo.com's founder and CEO David Schropfer.

The site generally tracks only the titles that have been registered with it by a publisher -- with 300 titles now registered and 4,000 expected by the end of the year. Softzoo.com tracks personal productivity and business titles only and has no intention of getting into the PC game market.

Once registered, a publisher gives Softzoo.com all the specifications for the title and an explanation of what the title is expected to accomplish. Schropfer said this allows customers to search for exactly what is needed.

Softzoo.com receives a residual payment for every sale enabled by its service. The service will receive an upgrade in January that will include online demos of the software. Softzoo.com will carry advertising on its site, but to eliminate any conflict of interest, none from the software publishers being tracked.

Cybernet Systems has developed a software application called HeadHunter, which works in conjunction with a PC camera to allows a player's head movement to act as an input device for a PC game. HeadHunter, which is compatible with any PC game that uses keystrokes to control movement, will ship next month for $29.99.

The software requires the player to have a PC camera mounted in the middle of his or her monitor. The software is then programmed by the player to recognize certain head movements as a keystroke. For example, it can be told that moving your head to the right means look right in a flight simulator or action-type game, a task that usually requires hitting a certain key, thus freeing a hand for another job.

The first version of HeadHunter can only recognize four head movements: up, down, left and right. But future versions will be able to recognize more movements, said Anthony Comazzi, Cybernet's VP of business development.

With an eye on the prosumer graphics market, Ulead this week will start shipping PhotoImpact 6, the latest version of the company's photo-editing software. This revamp will not only include the Ulead's typical photo-editing capability, but is Ulead's first title to feature HTML coding of images so they can be directly exported to a Web page. The title also features a wide array of graphical elements that can be added to any Web page.

PhotoImpact 6 is not intended to replace a website-management tool, such as Dreamweaver, but work with it, said Ulead marketing manager Michelle Gallina.

The product will carry a $99 suggested retail price and will be available as an electronic download.

The download, which will cost about $10 less, has the customer downloading the title in pieces to avoid a long, one-time download experience. Each time the customer starts to access a new piece of the title, it will launch to the Internet and grab it from Ulead's website, Gallina said. Over time, the entire title will eventually be downloaded onto the end user's PC.

Corel is launching upgrades to CorelDRAW and its WordPerfect Family Pack, both expected out in November.

CorelDRAW 10 has been repositioned to target intermediate and advanced graphics professionals rather than home consumers. With new packaging and a price increase of approximately $50 to $75, the title now adds CorelRAVE (Real Animated Vector Effects) to the suite (which formerly included CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT). The street price for the upgrade for owners of CorelDRAW 3-9 is $239 to $249, and the full product is $549.

Also new is WordPerfect Family Pack 2, which includes: a word processor based on WordPerfect 9; a spreadsheet; PrintHouse 2000, which includes photo editing as well as a TLC's Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing; and Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. Estimated street price is $69.

Beatnik, San Mateo , Calif., launched two new music titles at RetailVision: Mixman Studio Pro 4.0 and DJ Megamix.

Studio Pro 4.0 is a professional-quality music-mixing title that adds the ability to post songs directly to the Web. It also includes 30 licensed singles of popular songs that are available remixing. Features include a full effects studio, as well as editing and recording, and the ability to save as MP3, WAV or RealAudio files. Estimated street price is $89, and a Mac version is due in November.

MixMan DJ Megamix replaces Mixman Studio. It offers a basic remixing studio for both Windows and Mac platforms and includes 30 songs for remixing at $29.

Ixla, Danbury, Calif. is releasing a new version of its website creator title, Web Easy, which now adds VMRL and e-commerce features. The program also offers new animation tools such as wipes, fades, paths and dynamic capabilities for 360-degree views.

The new Millennium version ships next month at an estimated street price of $49 and will be offered in the future with a bundled digital camera at approximately $99.

Also new from Ixla is a Mac version of Photo Easy. It ships with a digital camera that has a TV output for connecting directly to a television to view photos. The camera has 640 x 480 resolution with USB cable, built-in flash, and stores 30 photos. Photo Easy allows morphing, archiving, cropping, and photo retouching. Estimated street price is $149. A $20 rebate is also available.

Ixla is also partnering with Disney to release a Mickey Mouse 640 x 480 digital camera and software bundle. The camera itself will have a likeness of Mickey Mouse on it, and the packaging will also feature the character. The combination camera and software package is expected to ship in November for less than $100.

Preview Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., showed its ZipLock System, a b2b e-commerce software package that allows retailers and publishers to sell digital goods online.

The software provides an infrastructure that complements' the retailer's or publisher's existing online site and allows them to encrypt, license, sell and fulfill digital goods such as software and music. The ZipLock system includes a server component that allows the retailer to sell goods from multiple sources. Current users of the ZipLock System include Best Buy, Buy.com and Musicland.

NTM, Los Angeles, is launching five Web creation titles. The company, which markets software overseas, is bringing its titles to the United States for the first time.

Titles include Qwizzed, online quiz software that allows companies to develop and publish quizzes. Employers can quiz employees, for example, to see if more training is needed. The software works with any ISP, including AOL. Estimated street price is $29.99 with $5 mail-in rebate.

Stats4WEB monitors a website's traffic and allows users to track visits and hits by the hour, day, week, month or year. A Pro version is offered that has up to 25 counters to generate daily, weekly or monthly statistical reports.

Also new from NTM are two Web creation titles called Overview WEB Personal Edition and Pro Edition at $29.99 and $59.99, respectively.

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