Tech Industry

Netscape opens up to MS

Netscape Communications tries to prove that two can play the high-profile "openness" game.

Netscape Communications (NSCP) is trying to prove that two can play the high-profile "openness" game.

In a not-so-subtle dig at software giant and principle adversary Microsoft, the little company that could--Netscape--announced that it will integrate technology from the Redmond, Washington-based company in its products. Microsoft recently made waves by handing over its ActiveX technology to a standards body after years of internal research and development.

Critics charge that move belies a continuing effort by Microsoft to retain control of the ActiveX technology. And Netscape's products already work to a certain degree with Microsoft products. If they did not, Netscape would already be a footnote in history rather than a continuing thorn in the side of Microsoft's Internet ambitions.

Regardless, at the Netscape Developer's Conference (See related story "Netscape bids on the intranet") being held in New York, the company announced it would integrate its server and client software with Microsoft's Office, BackOffice, Windows 95, Windows NT, Systems Management Server (SMS), and OLE/COM/ActiveX technologies.

Executives at the company said the effort is intended to unify existing environments with evolving intranets.

Several of the integration points hold significance. By integrating with SMS, Netscape client software and Web servers will be able to be managed by the Microsoft systems management platform.

And by integrating with the Windows NT directory service, it will be easier for Netscape Web servers and Microsoft directories to work together to manage user information.

Support for Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) in Netscape's Enterprise Server 3.0, Directory Server 1.0 and SuiteSpot Web servers means the company's products will scale in conjunction with improvements in Windows NT.