Open Market CEO Retires

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From: Sally Khudairi (
Date: Wed Jan 12 2000 - 18:21:52 PST

Internet World News: CEO of Open Market Retires

By Whit Andrews

Gary Eichhorn, the CEO who led Open Market
( ) to its current
position as one of the top five commerce server vendors,
has retired. He will be replaced by president and chief
operating officer Ronald Matros, who came to Open Market
with the acquisition of FutureTense in October 1999.

Eichhorn leaves behind a mixed legacy at the company he
joined in December 1995, when electronic commerce was far
from the household phrase it has become. Open Market was the
first company to pursue enterprise-level commerce sales, and
Eichhorn, who replaced founder Shikhar Ghosh, crafted its
risky strategy. He pressed for sales among major telcos that
intended to make themselves into commerce service providers
-- an effort which has largely proven fruitless for the
telcos, although Open Market prospered from their purchases
of its software. That made revenue, but not buzz, as Open
Market's software rarely produced standout stores.

Eichhorn tried other tactics, too: He engineered the
purchase of Folio, a publishing software suite that seriously
strained the company. He also trumpeted the company's
collection of several major patents nearly two years ago,
which he intended to license broadly. The company has never
announced any successful licensing.

But if Eichhorn leaves behind a mixed legacy, including
layoffs in 1998, he departs on a triumphant note.

The company's fortunes revived after it acquired ShopSite, a
store-building tool, and marketed it to commerce service
providers. Only last week Open Market crowed that 7,000
businesses signed up with ShopSite-based in a
three week period. And its acquisition of FutureTense gives
it new strength against rival BroadVision, since Open Market
now can boast the dynamic content control and personalization
that have been at the heart of BroadVision's server from the
beginning. Plus, the company's stock has rebounded, tripling
in value over the last 60 days or so.

All the same, Open Market faces more substantial challenges
ahead. It lost marquee client Disney to InterWorld, for
example, and has failed to articulate a strategy to create
networks among its thousands of merchants. Even though its
revenue is growing, rivals like InterWorld, InterShop, and
IBM are again threatening its future.

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Sally Khudairi, ZOT Group

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