In a deal that continues its increasing push into the business market, Netscape Communications Corp. announced Thursday it will gain full ownership of Actra, a joint venture between Netscape and GE Information Services that makes Internet commerce software.
Under the agreement, Actra will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Netscape, and the venture's 200 employees will become Netscape employees. Netscape is planning to sell Actra's products, which include the CommerceXpert line of business-to-business commerce applications, under its own brand name.
Actra's software is used to connect businesses to other businesses and customers over the Internet, and Netscape played the deal as an expansion of its previous focus on intranet software.
"This acquisition is a dramatic step in the evolution of Netscape from a browser company into an enterprise solutions company," said Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale in a statement. "With the ... emergence of market demand for open, scalable Internet commerce solutions, the time is right to bring Actra into the Netscape fold."
Netscape said it originally formed Actra as a joint venture last April in an effort to keep itself focused on intranet software for corporations.
The market for so-called "extranets"