Netcaster shipping this week

Netscape will ship its Netcaster "push" channel software this week, the company says.

Jeff Pelline Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jeff Pelline is editor of CNET News.com. Jeff promises to buy a Toyota Prius once hybrid cars are allowed in the carpool lane with solo drivers.
Jeff Pelline
2 min read
Netscape Communications (NSCP) will ship its Netcaster "push" channel software this week, the company said today.

Netcaster will ship with version 4.02 of the Communicator software suite and will not work with any previous version, Netscape said last week. The company has been racing to beat rival Microsoft to the push punch. Microsoft will release Internet Explorer 4.0 with support for push channels by the end of summer.

Netcaster is a pure-Java program and was originally slated to ship with Communicator in June. Since its June launch, Communicator has undergone frequent updates to repair Java and JavaScript-related bugs. The Netcaster-friendly Communicator 4.02 is meant to address those holes as well as other unspecified problems.

An announcement on the push software is expected tomorrow, where media giants such as the Walt Disney Company will officially join Netscape's laundry list of content partners, executives at Disney said.

Disney already has struck a similar content deal with Microsoft, which is expected to release a final version of its own push technology as part of its Internet Explorer 4.0 browser by the end of the summer. Disney executives said both Netscape and Microsoft wanted exclusive content deals, but it opted to be "Switzerland" instead, referring to the stance of neutrality. Other content partners are expected to do the same.

The content partners also include Marimba's more than 100 channel partners. CBS SportsLine, CNNfn, Gartner Group Advisor, Hearst's HomeArts Network, Charles Schwab, Knight-Ridder, CitySearch, Excite, Pencil Me In, Planet Out, Wire Networks, and CNET (publisher of NEWS.COM) also have agreed to support Netcaster technology. Netcaster allows content providers and developers to create channels using HTML, Java, and JavaScript.

The company said in May that it has hosted more than 400 content providers, developers, and distributors at technology briefings.