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March 11, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:57pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Since it retreated from the browser war front line, and for some time before, Netscape Communications Corp was pretty much focused on the intranet market. Using its client software as a loss- leader it has managed to snatch a fair bit of market and mind share with its SuiteSpot server package, while Microsoft Corp has not really got it together in the corporate space, by most observer’s reckoning. Now Netscape reckons it is now time to look beyond the intranet to the extranet: the corporate intranet linked to the intranets of large customers and/or partners. The Mountain View-based company yesterday issued a white paper that spells out a roadmap for its client and server software into next year. Netscape did a similar thing in June of 1996 describing its intranet strategy. It’s chosen the suitably virile codenames of Mercury for the client and Apollo for the server for its march into the nascent extranet space. Netscape got 40 other vendors together to support something its calling Crossware: software that supports standards, many of which are managed, or in draft from with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The poster boys among the 40 include Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment Corp, Novell Inc, Oracle Corp, Silicon Graphics Inc and Sun Microsystems Inc. Microsoft Corp was not approached to add its name to the list, and although Windows platforms are not mentioned at all in two releases, and the Crossware approach is contrasted favorably to fat clients that cannot scale or be extended beyond the fiorewall, Netscape said all Windows platforms would be supported, adding that the standards are all publicly avialble for any company to give them the thumbs up. The white paper also talks about a Crossware visual development tool, codenamed Palomar (a mountain north east of San Diego). It features HTML, JavaScript and Java components, and will be available in the second half of this year. The Mercury client vision will feature a local object store to store content, application and data from the internet; an agent technology called Compass that will add to the information-handling capabilities of the Constellation desktop, which is due around mid-year; a hypertree feature that gives a unified view of folders, bookmarks, email – something Microsoft has been touting for a long time, and is due to deliver in Internet Explorer 4.0. It also promises run-time environment and rendering engine called Gemini and a universal in-box for e- mail,. fax and voicemail. Apollo server plans call for enhanced workflow technology, specifically e-mail and calendaring; integrated agent technology so agents can be written for specific tasks across different events; load-balancing, back-up; software distribution and management; a programmable content management store Wall Street liked what it saw and Netscape shares closed up $3.125 at $29.625. The white paper’s up at

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