IT-Director: Netscape beats Microsoft at its own game

“Despite running neck and neck with releases of Internet
Explorer 4, Netscape never had a version 5, a weakness that the
company is now seeking to address. The jump straight to V6 is as
much about not wanting to appear to be playing catch-up, as wanting
to appear in advance of Microsoft’s offering.”

“As for more sinister motives (and would we expect anything
else), with its My Sidebar navigation facilities and integration
with AOL email, Navigator 6 is seeking to position itself as a
service hub, much like Sony intends to do in hardware with its
PlayStation 2. In the future, visibility and accessibility will be
the weapons with which battles are fought and Netscape will be
quick to offer access to AOL’s offerings in priority over those of
other service providers. One way or another Netscape are “doing
a Microsoft” — they are linking the browser into other parts of
the Mother Company’s offering.
The browser is already tied to
AOL’s instant messenger service, not to mention its email. The
company claims that services from other companies are supported —
what is less clear is the difference between “support” and

“Over the coming months it will become clearer as to how “open”
the browser really is. AOL are innocent of monopolistic practices,
as they do not hold a monopoly. However the company should be
watched closely to ensure that its moves, now and in the future,
are not intended to stifle competition. Anti-trust lawyers must be
rubbing their hands.”