Netscape expects to release a beta version of its Navigator 4.0 browser, code-named Galileo, to coincide with its developer conference in mid-October.
An October release date for Galileo would once again put Netscape (NSCP) neck-and-neck with Microsoft, its chief rival in the browser market. Last week, CNET reported that Microsoft plans to offer a beta version of Internet Explorer 4.0 sometime in October.
Andreessen, Netscape's cofounder and senior vice president of technology, sounded ready for the fight. "We want to leave the century as a $2 billion or $3 billion company," he said.
With Galileo, Netscape is working to add a range of groupware capabilities to its client software in an effort to make Navigator more useful to corporations. The groupware capabilities will primarily include improvements to Navigator's integrated email and Usenet software, including Secure/MIME (S/MIME) support for encrypting and authenticating email, IMAP4 support for reading email and discussion groups offline, and other features, such as filtering, searching, and rules that are standard parts of enterprise email packages.
At its developer conference next month, Netscape could focus on other Navigator developments, such as its plan to integrate browser functions seamlessly with operating systems, a trajectory that Microsoft is also following with Internet Explorer 4.0. Previously, Andreessen has said that Netscape will blend its browser with operating systems around the time it releases Galileo.
Netscape is also preparing next-generation versions of its Web, email, and other servers, which are grouped under the collective code name of Orion. Andreessen said that the Orion servers will be introduced through 1997.
In the meantime, Netscape today posted a beta version of its first-generation Directory Server. Based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), the server allows companies to store information, such as user names, email addresses, security keys, and contact information, which can then be obtained by Web browsers.