Cobalt Adds Secure E-Commerce To Server Appliances

Server appliance developer Cobalt Networks (Nasdaq: COBT) announced this week that it will tap the services of RSA Security (Nasdaq: RSAS) to enable secure e-commerce applications on its servers.

Under the terms of an agreement between the companies, RSA Security’s BSAFE Crypto-C software will be bundled with Cobalt’s server appliances, adding Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology to developers using the servers to build or operate e-commerce applications.

Cobalt’s server appliance is a Linux-based turnkey server that is shipped with all of the software pre-installed to operate Internet-ready services, such as e-mail, Web hosting and FTP. Server administration is handled by a Web browser, rather than a custom application program.

Crypto & Commerce

“As online shopping increases, Cobalt Networks wants to ensure that our customers conducting global e-commerce on our platforms receive a secure and affordable server appliance,” commented Mark Orr, vice president of business development and co-founder of Cobalt Networks, Inc. “RSA Security’s BSAFE Crypto-C software bundled with Cobalt server appliances will help developers, system integrators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) securely delivery e-commerce applications.”

The RSA Security BSAFE Crypto-C software is a cryptography engine that provides software developers with multiple algorithms and modules for adding encryption and authentication features to applications, including support for digital signatures and certificates. A means to scramble data by utilizing mathematical algorithms, cryptography is requisite for the integrity of e-commerce transactions.

Blue Hot Cobalt

Cobalt server appliances are designed to allow companies with relatively non-technical personnel to set up and operate servers with Internet applications, such as Web hosting and e-mail, without any knowledge of operating systems or the underlying software that drives the servers. Company products include the Cobalt Cache, NASRaQ, and Qube Internet appliance.

The Mountain View, California-based company went public in a high-profile IPO in November 1999 that zoomed from an offering price of $22 (US$) to about $128 on its opening day of trading. The stock closed today at $126.75 on volume of 224,300 shares.

The company, which had revenues of $13.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 1999, has a market capitalization of about $3.5 billion, showing that investors have a strong belief in the conceptual need for easy-to-use server appliances.

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