Building on the platform of products it announced earlier this week, Sun Microsystems Computer Co. has paired off with Cybercash Inc. to offer electronic commerce security products and services.
The Mountain View, Calif., computer vendor, known primarily for its servers, splashed into the business of electronic commerce services earlier this week, announcing a raft of products aimed at boosting trade over the Internet.
Cybercash, a new high-tech company, provides security for computer- network-based financial transactions through data encryption.
Under the agreement, Cybercash will place its encryption technology on Sun's servers, thereby safeguarding on-line transactions against tampering.
"Security on the Internet has been a concern for users, especially as more and more businesses and individuals conduct business on-line," said Bill Melton, president and chief executive officer for Cybercash.
As part of the deal, Sun will promote Cybercash's electronic payment services to its customer base.
The two companies also plan to develop other products and services to make it easier for businesses to conduct business over the international web of computer networks known as the Internet.
Sun favors the use of data security on the computer operating system level as well as on the data transmission level.
Mr. Melton, who established Cybercash last August, also founded Verifone almost a decade before. With Cybercash, he has been attempting to do for credit card payments over the Internet what he did for retail point of sale transactions with Verifone.
This deal may push that plan along, since, according to Sun officials, Sun makes most of the servers used to run the Internet.
"We are the cash register for the server that sits on the 'Net," said Magdalena Yesil, vice president for marketing at Cybercash, describing her company's role in the transaction process.
So far, Cybercash has signed up one bank customer: Wells Fargo & Co.
Wells is now testing transaction standards with select merchants. With Sun, Cybercash will be reaching the merchants more directly, as its product will sit inside the servers and products that merchants will buy.
"Cybercash's electronic payments expertise, combined with Sun's server technology and large installed base, will bring Internet users one step closer to secure electronic commerce," said Eric Schmidt, chief technology officer for Sun. "Our customers are eager for interoperable solutions that will enable them to conduct business on the Internet conveniently and reliably."
In its announcement on Tuesday, Sun launched a wide array of computer- network-based tools, including products that help access the Internet, hide underlying structural systems, secure transactions, and enhance commerce. Sun has also created a dynamic new Web browser - a product that allows users to peruse the multimedia-capable annex of the Internet known as the World Wide Web.