AOL Seeks to Dominate Electronic Commerce

By Saul Hansell N. Y. Times News Service | THE JOURNAL RECORD, November 27, 1998 | Go to article overview

AOL Seeks to Dominate Electronic Commerce


Saul Hansell N. Y. Times News Service, THE JOURNAL RECORD


America Online built itself into the most potent force in cyberspace largely by appealing to families with chatty teen-agers who want to flirt online and adults looking for an easy way to send electronic mail while checking the weather and sports scores.

Now, the company has to get serious if it is to win the hearts and minds of corporate executives in pin-stripe suits.

Nearly lost in the complexity of America Online's deal to buy Netscape Communication is America Online's announcement that it will enter an entirely new market: working behind the computer screen to help companies open and operate online stores. Netscape already has created software that made it a player in providing support for what is already known as electronic commerce. But America Online now says it has ambitions to offer a much wider array of software, consulting and services for online merchants. "Most companies that sell to consumers realize that they need to get into the e-commerce space," said America Online President Robert Pittman. "We see a major business in offering them an end-to-end solution." The market is big and growing bigger by the day. Forrester Research estimates that $325 million will be spent this year on electronic commerce software and another $5.3 billion on services that range from graphic design to the turn-key operation of entire online stores. By 2002, Forrester estimates, the combined market for electronic commerce services and software should top $35 billion. "E-commerce services are the silver bullet that will enable companies to be able to take advantage of the true business opportunities on the Web," said Traci Gere, an analyst at International Data. "The market is growing very rapidly, but it is very fragmented." Analysts say the leader today in e-commerce services is IBM, which has a full line of offerings from sophisticated software products to hand-holding consulting. Other competitors include well-known information technology consulting companies such as Andersen Consulting, the spinoff from the Arthur Andersen accounting firm; Electronic Data Systems, which runs computer systems for big companies, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which offers accounting and consulting separately but under one umbrella. Software companies like Microsoft and Netscape sell packaged programs, typically with little or no consulting to help customers use them. There are also plenty of new companies that have sprouted up to provide electronic commerce services. Some, like Agency.Com and Organic Online, started basically as advertising and design firms. Others, including U S Web and Viant, have emphasized programming and consulting. In fact, those two strains are blurring together, as exemplified by U S Web's pending merger with CKS Group. America Online argues that its advantage in this increasingly crowded bazaar is its ability to combine a broad subscriber base of about 15 million customers with Netscape software, plus hardware from Sun Microsystems, which has joined in America Online's venture into electronic commerce engineering. "This is the first time anyone has put a true end-to-end solution that starts with the silicon and ends with the audience," said Barry Schuler, America Online's president for interactive services. "We start with Sun's line of servers, then the commerce tools to build a store, the support services to process orders and then a deal for online real estate that can drive the traffic." Despite the advantages Netscape and Sun bring, analysts say that America Online faces a variety of problems in its new quest. Chief among them is whether it can appear to have the consistency, focus and follow-through that corporate customers demand. "AOL is not the first company that comes to my mind when it comes to business-quality software," said Robert Chatham, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. Its decision to keep Netscape as a separate unit and offer electronic commerce services in partnership with Sun will not enhance its credibility, Chatham said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

AOL Seeks to Dominate Electronic Commerce
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.