Connect to Sport Calico Label

  • Written By: D. Geller
  • Published: November 23 1999

Event Summary (Nasdaq: CNKT), a visionary but unsuccessful vendor of E-commerce software, was purchased by Calico Commerce Inc. (Nasdaq: CLIC) in a stock swap valued at about $90 million. began life as a vendor of expensive E-commerce servers targeted to hosting companies and large enterprises. With few customers and a faltering stock price, the company fell back and retrenched, emerging with a more open suite of products offering catalog and order processing capabilities. Calico, a recent Wall Street darling, specializes in software that helps online customers purchase complex products; its customers include Dell and gateway. Calico claims that integrating the product lines will be easy, and promises a December launch of the resulting product.

Market Impact

Calico plays in a ring with such heavyweights as BroadVision and OpenMarket. This is not even close to being a commodity market, and while each vendor describes the same basic features - content management, E-commerce, personalization - each is still jockeying to stake out market share by adding new and different features or defining specific vertical market expertise. Integrating its current product, which focuses on the sales of complex systems like personal computers, with ConnectInc's E-commerce fundamentals will make Calico's offerings more attractive to the customers in its targeted market. This will not immediately attract customers who, for example, are attracted to BroadVision because of its recent acquisition of content management and publishing pioneer FutureTense. However, the high-end is always smaller than the middle, and as the battle shifts to mid-sized firms the frills will be less important as selling points than will coverage of the basics, integration with existing systems, and price. If ConnectInc's newly rewritten software can scale appropriately it will be a potent weapon for Calico in that future battleground.

User Recommendations

If your application involves selling products and services that require configuration and other kinds of customization, Calico should be on your short list. If you'd previously evaluated it and found it missing the catalog and order handling capabilities that ConnectInc brings, then Calico is worth a second look. As with any yet-to-released product, however, be sure not to buy without the specific features, turnaround time and reliability necessary for successful business on the Web.

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