Netscape is retaliating on Microsoft?s bid to offer Explorer free to users and OEMs by offering its own Navigator browser to developers and PC manufacturers free of charge. It is also developing a version of Navigator that acts as a desktop for Memphis and NT 5.0 data, as well as Web information.
Under a programme called Ratbert, Netscape is bundling its Navigator and Netcaster clients together and offering them free to OEMs from mid July, according to a company source. OEM products targeted include Lotus Notes, IBM OS/2, Mac, Teamware and software from Oracle.
?We are also looking at PC vendors to replace Explorer with Ratbert,? said the source. ?We are tackling Microsoft in its heartland.? Netscape said Navigator is already available on most NCs, including models from Sun, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Digital, Zenith, and HDS.
The other project, codenamed Hypertree, allows users to view Windows, NT and Web files and pages from one browser, although they may have Explorer installed.
The Netscape source said the plan is to offer users, mostly of Netscape messaging server, a choice of viewing information on Navigator or Explorer. It is also a sock in the eye to Microsoft own work of bundling Explorer free on Memphis and NT 5.0.
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