Microsoft has called a truce in the push technology wars.
The company has revised its original proposals for an industry push technology standard and now embraces Netscape's Netcaster technology. When Microsoft initially publicised the standard and submitted it to the World Wide Web Consortium in March, Netscape dismissed the idea as "irrelevant" and refused to support it. This raised the spectre of a war between rival standards in the emerging push technology arena.
But now Microsoft has added extensions to its channel definition format (CDF) proposals which will enable it to be used with Netcaster. CDF will be incorporated in the next version of the Microsoft browser, Internet Explorer 4.0, due out later this summer. Netscape's Netcaster was due to be included in the release of Communicator this week, but has been delayed P> "This is a really responsible decision that will make the web come of age even more quickly," declared Jeremy Gittens, Internet platforms manager at Microsoft UK. "You can't have two standards for push, and Microsoft believes in standards. Web authors will be able to write (to the push technology) once, and read anywhere."
The move means Microsoft software will be compatible with Netscape's, without the latter having to back down from its anti-Microsoft stance.
Although Microsoft has made a lot of headway in the browser market this year, Netscape still holds the lion's share.
Netscape remained unconvinced. "This does not remove most of the drawbacks of the CDF format," argued Netscape's European director of product marketing, Thierry Tabard. "Microsoft is just making some trade-offs now because it didn't invite us along when it proposed the standard."
Microsoft claimed its reason for the change of tactics was to promote harmony in the push arena. "Now Microsoft and Netscape don't have to compete on the channel definition format standard, but more importantly, it can focus on implementation," the company said in a statement.
However, the firm couldn't resist a dig at its arch-rival: "The great news for the push industry is that channel publishers can now author once and run anywhere, degrading gracefully within the basic web crawl functionality in Netcaster, or scaling up to the advanced push capabilities in Internet Explorer 4.0," concluded the statement.
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