Besides augmenting the more than 15 platforms Netscape supports with its browser, the OS/2 version of Navigator represents a significant gesture of support for IBM's flagging platform. Big Blue codeveloped the OS/2 browser with Netscape.
As Microsoft has moved aggressively into the Internet market, IBM and Netscape have demonstrated an increasing willingness to work together even as IBM subsidiary Lotus Development and Netscape go head to head in the groupware market. In November, Netscape agreed to package IBM's Java-based Web-to-host software, called IBM Host On-Demand, into Netscape's Communicator Professional Edition client software.
By agreeing to do an OS/2 version of Navigator in August, Netscape further endeared itself to the computing giant. But the browser could also help Netscape get a leg up inside corporations where the vast majority of the 15 million OS/2 users dwell.
IBM and Netscape have already begun development on an OS/2 version of Communicator, Netscape's next-generation Internet client. An IBM spokesman said today that Communicator for OS/2 will be available sometime in the first quarter of 1997.