Can you clarify Netscape's position on Network Computers?
We're going to have a way to take Navigator onto basically all
non-PC devices. And that should be probably within the next few weeks. We'll
talk in more detail about how that works. But the upshot is we're going to
try to get Navigator running everywhere, and we're not going to do all that
work ourselves. We've got some partnerships.
"Everywhere" meaning standard?
NCs, PDAs (personal digital assistants), video game boxes,
interactive things like the different 32- and 64-bit video game platforms
are really good for this.
There will be a Navigator-branded product on a PDA; it may not include all the functionality. There are very real hardware limitations on some of these devices, but Moore's Law is on our
side, so over time you'll get more and more.
So you're bullish on...
Yeah, bullish on the concept of non-PC devices that connect to
the Internet and are useful. And especially there's two things that are
going to be big wins here. One is the things will be free because they can
be subsidized by service providers. So the cost isn't going to be $500. The
cost is going to be zero dollars.
But who is really committed to that?
All of the ISPs and online services have established a model
from which they're willing to spend to get a customer. The question is
whether it's $40 or $200 that a customer is worth. It's like cellular
phones. One thing that's true about PCs is that they are hellaciously
complex to run and support. Gartner Group said that PCs cost $8,000 to
$15,000 a year to support. So if you have what I call the "zero admin client"
where you just turn it on and it works, there is a segment of the market
that's going to like that a lot.
Are information services managers going to be that keen about zero
When we talk to CIOs about it, sort of the Fortune 100-level
companies, if they had a box in their hands and it worked, they'd roll it out.
What's the future of Navigator?
More and more of the things that people do on the network can
just happen inside Navigator. We're going to expand Navigator to be a
desktop, and that will work with all these different platforms exactly in the
same way. It will take over the screen if you want. You could even replace
the Windows start-up screen. Navigator will be able to take over the whole
desktop. In fact, you'll be able to boot directly into it.
As far as size and complexity goes, more and more of it's going to be
downloaded on the fly. Navigator is turning more and more into a
subscription-based service. You're going to subscribe to Navigator and
your subscription may actually be subsidized by content providers or
advertisers or whatever. But you'll subscribe to the Navigator and in the
middle of the night, a new module will get downloaded and then you'll get
asked the next morning, "Would you like to install this?" If you click yes,
boom, it will be right there. If you click no, it will be erased from your
system. With Java, we can do all that safely and do it broadly and across
It seems like it's the same thinking that's motivating IE 4.0.
The difference is we don't have to run the OS. There's pros and
cons on both sides. There's a certain advantage to owning the OS; there's a
certain advantage to not having to worry about an operating system revenue.
So people will get to choose.
There are an increasing number of users who are spending more and more of
their day in the Navigator. What do you do on a PC? You do email, you surf
the Web, and if you're creating documents or content you're probably creating
them in space to post online. Navigator does that. So the stuff that you
need to do that's not in Navigator right now is like manage your local
files. Maybe run spreadsheets. That's about it.
In what time frame do you foresee this happening?
Six to 12 months.
Do you feel like the pace forces you to make decisions you'd
rather not make?
No, well the pace forces people to make decisions period. CNET
has the option, for example, to wait for ActiveX or wait for the next great
authoring tool, whatever it is. You can't, you don't. You'll be creamed by
your competitors if you do.
Most companies, a lot of internal corporate IS people, are under the gun to
deliver stuff right now, and they can't wait. So I think the pace has
accelerated permanently. These technologies are only feeding it. But it's
the way things always would have been done. We're only able to move as fast
as we are because we're benefiting from a lot of stuff that's happened in
the last 10 or 15 years. There are ways to communicate extremely effectively
with the press just through email. Software distribution: It's just
painless and transparent now. That's never been the case before. The
feedback from customers is instantaneous. Sales channels: We were able to
get Navigator Personal Edition into 80,000 stores in a matter of a few weeks
because the distribution channels are there that weren't there 10 years ago.
NEXT: Netscape vs. Microsoft