Netscape is taking on some of its fiercest rivals with a range of products challenging core offerings from Microsoft, Lotus and Novell.
With its new Networked Enterprise strategy, outlined last week, the company seems intent on addressing the areas where its rivals have their traditional strengths. Apollo, the codename for an upgrade to the SuiteSpot server range, has Notes-like replication features. Mercury, the codename for a forthcoming client to update Communicator, will contain a directory structure resembling that of Novell and Microsoft.
Using this "hypertree" structure, users will be able to navigate through data on the Web, LAN, or local hard drive without having to see the underlying file structure, just as they can already do on the Internet.
Mike Homer, Netscape's senior vice president of marketing, believes the new products will eclipse existing software. "We are threatening Microsoft because people will spend more time with our user interface than they will with Windows," he explained. "We will not replace Windows as an operating system, but our software will be what users see."
Lotus is also under attack. "The inclusion of an object store in Apollo gives us capabilities far beyond Notes," said Homer. "That's an old product, and being old when the paradigm is shifting is not an advantage."
Netscape is venturing into new areas with the announcement of a development tool, codenamed Palomar. Palomar also mimics Notes in that it provides a development environment for groups of programmers within companies to create their own customised applications. "Palomar is a direct result of our conversations with enterprise customers," Homer explained.
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