4D Australasia plans higher profile

Since the launch of 4D Australasia -- a branch of 4D Inc. -- in March, the company has already eclipsed the total Australasian earnings for 4D database sales in 2001, boosting the number of users of the software to more than 25,000 throughout Australia and New Zealand, according to company officials.

The 4th Dimension product line offers a full range of Mac OS and Windows products that can be used together to create an integrated Web-enabled, cross-platform database development solution or as individual components. The line includes tools for development, deployment, productivity, connectivity and Internet servers.

The 4D database, which runs on Mac and Windows systems, is aimed at companies and developers that have demands above FileMaker Pro, according to company representative John Harris. Established in 1984, France-based 4D has offices around the globe. They released their first graphical relational database in 1985.

Although used by organizations such as NASA, it remains the "unknown database" in Australia. However, the Aberdeen Group Inc., a US-based IT market analysis firm, recently placed 4D in third place in an industry survey of Visible Cost of Ownership (VCO) study. In a market dominated by US corporations including Microsoft, Oracle and FileMaker, 4D has created a loyal following by delivering a scalable database that runs with "equal efficiency" on both the Windows and Mac operating systems, said 4D Australasia managing director Damon Carley.

He added that 4D Australasia intends to overcome the "unknown database" moniker through creating a higher profile for the software in Australia and New Zealand. The company has already secured major educational clients, including University of Melbourne, University of Western Sydney and the NSW Department of Education and Training's Open High School, Carley said.

Earlier this month 4D Inc. announced the immediate availability of WebSTAR 5.2 and the company's new Mail server 4D Mail. And in August the company made updates of the 4D development environment and 4D Business Kit, an e-commerce solution, available for download.