Netscape Communications Corp’s relationship with IBM Corp’s Lotus division appears to be caught between a rock and a hard place. Netscape has refused to separately license its forthcoming Navigator 4.0 web browser for inclusion with Lotus Notes. But Lotus won’t buy Navigator bundled with groupware competitor Communicator, and is instead previewing its Notes client integrated with Microsoft’s pending Internet Explorer 4.0 browser. Asked whether Netscape was up in arms at the appearance of Navigator’s arch-rival, Notes marketing director Tim Dempsey replied, They certainly should be. Maybe that’ll encourage them to soften their position on unbundling Navigator from Communicator. They’ve taken a very hard position: you won’t see Navigator 4 in component form; they’re trying to force everybody to take everything in Communicator. Netscape could not be reached for comment on the issue, but Dempsey maintains that Lotus is hopeful of progress. The ideal result would be for [Netscape] to deliver a Java Bean interface to the Navigator functionality, he believes. This is Win32 – fine. But we’ve got Unix clients, we’ve got OS/2 clients, we’ve got Mac clients. A Bean browser would be much more interesting for us, and I would show that every time over a platform-specific implementation. Lotus is staging its rollout of new Notes client functions over the first half of this year. Netscape missed its original shipping target of last quarter for Communicator, which is now in its fourth preview edition.