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NetMeeting headed to the Mac

Interop Farallon says it will port Microsoft's NetMeeting 2.0 collaboration software to the Macintosh.

Interop LAS VEGAS, Nevada--Macintosh users will soon be able to collaborate with their Windows friends-if they're patient.

Farallon (FRLN) says it will adapt Microsoft's (MSFT) NetMeeting 2.0 collaboration software to the Macintosh, but not until next spring.

Farallon CEO Alan Lefkof hinted that early versions of NetMeeting for Macs, which will be bundled with Farallon's Timbuktu Pro and distributed free to current users, might be available by the end of this year. But Farallon will port only the application- and data-sharing parts of NetMeeting, not the audio or video portions.

Farallon's Internet division will port NetMeeting to Mac OS versions 7.6 and 8.0, but the company says it's too early to commit to do it for Apple Computer's new Rhapsody operating system.

Microsoft's Blake Irving, a general manager in its Internet division, said his group is not now in discussions with any other vendors about porting the audio and video portions of NetMeeting to the Mac, although he's open to that option.

"Corporate MIS is very nervous about audio and video on their networks," said Microsoft's Irving. "It makes more sense for them in data-sharing."

Calling the Farallon announcement a "coming out party for Internet cross-platform interconferencing," Irving noted that by complying with the T.120 and H.323 standards, videoconferencing software from different vendors can be interoperable.

Britain's Data Connection Limited is porting NetMeeting to several Unix platforms. DCL's Tony Downes said versions for Solaris, Sparc, HP-UX, and Silicon Graphics' Irix won't be available until year's end.

The Farallon announcement expands its October 1996 technology partnership with Microsoft.

Last week Microsoft launched the update to its NetMeeting conferencing software, which includes Internet telephony features soon to be incorporated in its Web browser and operating systems. Windows versions of the product is available for free download from Microsoft's Web site.