Cyber View; March 1997; Scientific American Magazine; by Eisenberg; 1 Page(s)
In the past year only a trickle of money on the World Wide Web has actually made its way toward consumer goods such as books, flowers and airline tickets. But the Web has actually produced a bona fide financial hit--intranets. These systems are networks that are generally accessible only to select users and that rely on the rules of the Internet that permit computers to "talk" to one another. Unlike their rambunctious, flashy Internet cousins, intranets (and extranets, or networks extended to branches and business partners) are the emerging bourgeoisie--stable, productive money earners, the economic bedrock of cyberspace.
Convinced that they will increase profits, U.S. companies are ready to pay for the Web technology to create them. The market for intranets is estimated to reach at least $9 billion by 2000 or perhaps even more: Zona Research, a consulting firm in Redwood City, Calif., thinks annual spending on intranets will exceed $13 billion by 1999. Netscape, Sun Microsystems and Lotus/IBM are already competing fiercely for this enormous market, and so, too, looming over them all, is the Godzilla of Redmond, Wash., Microsoft.