Meca Software Inc. has opened a new front on the Internet in its battle with Microsoft Corp. and Intuit Inc.
Meca historically competed with the two technology giants mainly in the personal-finance software market. With the recent announcement of its Internet Transaction Server, Meca aims to help banks offer services via the Internet, for which Microsoft and Intuit also have tailored banking products.
"We are trying to work ourself out of being pigeonholed in the personal financial manager marketplace," said Paul Harrison, chief executive officer of Trumbull, Conn.-based Meca.
Fleet Financial Group, one of Meca's bank owners, has agreed to use Meca's new software. The Boston-based bank hopes to begin testing its transactional Web site within 60 days. The final version likely will be launched later in the year.
Meca executives claim their product has an advantage over Microsoft's and Intuit's: It frees users from having to download individual applications and store them on a personal computer-something they might not be allowed to do at work.
"Many corporations have policies against downloading nonbusiness software to a local personal computer," Mr. Harrison said. The new system "allows consumers to bank at their workplace through a general browser" like those of Netscape Communications Corp. or Microsoft.
Fleet officials said that even if customers conduct most personal banking transactions from home, many want the ability to bank using a standard Web browser. "We have been listening to our customers, and many of them would like to access us from anywhere," said David A. Fingerman, vice president of interactive banking at Fleet.
He said that for overseas users, Internet connections are proving more reliable than dial-up connections.
"Rather than having to rely on technology interlopers, this is the right way to put the building blocks in place for the Internet infrastructureucture of the future," said Robert B. Hedges, senior vice president at Fleet.