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The iPlanet logo

iPlanet was a product brand that was used jointly by Sun Microsystems and Netscape Communications Corporation when delivering software and services as part of a non-exclusive cross marketing deal that was also known as "A Sun|Netscape Alliance".[1]

After AOL merged with Netscape, technology analysts speculated that AOL's major interest was the website (specifically the millions of registered users thereof), and to a lesser extent the Netscape Communicator suite, which some considered would be used to replace the Internet Explorer browser which AOL licensed from Microsoft and included as part of their software suite.

AOL entered into an agreement with systems and software company Sun Microsystems whereby engineers from both companies would work together on software development, marketing, sales, installation and support. Part of the deal was that Sun agreed to pay Netscape a fixed amount for each year of the deal regardless of whether any software was actually sold by the alliance.

The iPlanet brand was already owned by Sun following the acquisition of i-Planet, Inc. in 1998.

In 2002, the three year alliance came to an end, at which point, under the terms of the deal, both AOL and Sun retained equal rights to the code that had been jointly developed.[2] Around this time many of the remaining Netscape employees were either laid off or transferred to Sun (mostly at its campuses in Santa Clara, California and Bangalore) - during the period of the alliance Netscape had hired very few people, most staff coming under the Sun umbrella.

Sun continues to sell the software, much of which formed the basis of Sun's Sun ONE network software solution, which as of 2003 is marketed as Sun's Java Enterprise System.

AOL also continued to market the directory and certificate server products under the Netscape brand.

In 2004 AOL sold the directory and certificate server products to Red Hat, which plans to integrate them into its Red Hat Enterprise Server product.


The suite of iPlanet offerings included:

The suite also included a number of server-side infrastructure components, including distributed event management and tools for managing large populations of iPlanet server instances.

Additionally, iPlanet sold "iPlanet E-Commerce Applications", a suite of software tools intended for building e-commerce websites:

  • iPlanet ECXpert
  • iPlanet TradingXpert
  • iPlanet BuyerXpert (for business to business procurement software)
  • iPlanet SellerXpert (for implementing b2b and b2c sales websites)
  • iPlanet MerchantXpert
  • Netscape PublishingXpert
  • iPlanet BillerXpert (for handling billing and related financial processing activities)


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