takes CA sales to the web is set to add value to the distribution chain for Computer Associates software, with the launch of a website to sell CA online, backed up with a regional sales force.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  April 2, 2001

While downloading software from the Internet has proven to be very popular, it has tended to be limited to free trials, homegrown applications and virus updates, rather than core business tools. But new venture, is aiming to change that, with a site dedicated to selling Computer Associates software and services via the web.

“There are always customers that prefer immediate delivery,” said Rab Fares, chairman and CEO of “If you are going to buy an application for corporate use, which way is more efficient of buying – is it to wait three to four days to receive the shipment, with the hardware sitting idle, and to pay $10,000, or to download it in half an hour, and only pay $5,000? The manual is built into the software, so the only difference is not having to think where to put the empty box.” will be offering a range of CA software, training and other products through the site, on a global basis, and will also have a dedicated sales team on the ground in the Middle East, through its Dubai office. Fares and Firas Alsalih, president and COO, say that the company was created to fill a gap in CA’s distribution network. “There was an area of within the distribution chain that needed improvement,” explained Alsalih. “Any dot-com is ultimately about creating a more efficient supply chain. That is what we believe can do, just be better at getting the product to the market place.”

The company was set up in Virginia in the US five months ago, with the site due to go to Beta testing in April. The site is being hosted in the US, because of the more reliable infrastructure, although specialised download software is being developed in Lebanon. The company needed to create new compression software to minimise file size, and to handle disconnection during downloads. The resulting software is something like Netscape’s smartDownload, says Fares.

The company is also practising what it preaches, with the site run completely on CA software – the web store is handled by CA Jasmine, managed by Unicenter, and secured using the eTrust suite of products.
Most of important of all though, considering that is only selling CA products, is the relationship with CA. “We are a completely separate entity,” said Alsalih. “But we have to have CA support, clearly we couldn’t do business without it. CA supports us as a business that helps it get its product to the market more efficiently, and if this is done in the right way, with the right people, and without compromising the image that CA has developed, then there is the basis of a strong relationship.”

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