Netscape Signs Licensing Deal

Netscape Signs Licensing Deal

By Shannon Henry
Staff Writer

Netscape Communications Corp., Mountain View, Calif., has landed a Pentagon job that marks its largest deal yet with a federal government customer.

The company will provide client and server software, starting immediately, to the U.S. Department of Defense under a licensing agreement company officials valued at $50 million over five years.

The license was acquired by DISA using the Integrated Computer-Aided Software Engineering (I-CASE) contract with Arlington, Va.-based integrator Logicon, which is managed by the Standard Systems Center at Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama.

Under the deal, Netscape products will be used at the Pentagon's far-flung facilities by some 2 million military users. The software will be used for Internet and intranets designed to help DoD communicate and share information more efficiently.

The Defense Information Systems Agency's Enterprise Software License Program Office will be the primary point for assigning licenses to defense users, who will then be able to get copies of the software directly from Netscape.

DEAL AT A GLANCE

Who:
Netscape and the U.S. Department of Defense; Integrator partners are BTG, Litton-PRC and Logicon

What:
A licensing agreement for Netscape client and server software covering up to 2 million DoD users

When:
A multiyear contract expected to run five years; deal was announced Oct. 8

How Much:
Estimated to be worth $50 million

Where:
Brokered by Netscape's Bethesda, Md., office, which runs the federal business of the Mountain View, Calif., company

Why:
According to Netscape, because it is the only company to have met the Internet security standard FIPS 140-1 established by NIST

"This means DoD is securing the Web," said Peter Thorp, director of government sales for Netscape.

One reason Netscape was chosen for this deal, said Thorp, is that it is the only company that has met the National Institute of Standards and Technology requirements for security in Internet products. That standard is known as FIPS 140-1. According to NIST, after June 30, 1997, government agencies can only purchase cryptography products that have successfully been tested under the Cryptographic Module Validation program.

Netscape's products also support the Fortezza standard of authentication and data encryption, which the government uses to protect sensitive information.

Systems integrator partners on the project - BTG Inc. of Fairfax, Va., Litton-PRC Inc. of McLean, Va., and Logicon - will be instrumental in making sure the Netscape products work smoothly with current DoD systems, said John Menkart, DoD regional manager for Netscape. "Rather than a potpourri approach, this allows them to build a common infrastructure," Menkart said.

Integration of the Netscape software will be a complex and vital process, said Hal Wilson, vice president of 'Net Solutions for Litton-PRC.

"It's not enough just to buy the product," he said. Wilson said the Netscape offering is a "good move" for the government and will solve problems for the DoD by bringing it into compliance with the FIPS 140-1 requirement.

PRC has already invested heavily in getting its people ready for this job, though Wilson said it's too early to predict the financial return. "It depends on how self-sufficient the government agencies want to become," he said.

The Pentagon has used Netscape software in the past, including the Defense Logistics Agency's licensing of the company's messaging and collaboration software, which allows government employees to communicate and work together on projects from different locations.

It also is hoped that DoD's confidence in Netscape will translate to more deals like this and more use of open Internet standards, said Menkart. "[The agreement] will promote extensive use [of the Netscape software] in civilian, federal, state and local," he said.


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