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Oracle uses Navigator in-house

While pushing its own PowerBrowser, Oracle licensed Navigator for in-house use.

Oracle has licensed Netscape Communications' Navigator for use by Oracle employees, even though the browser competes directly with the company's own PowerBrowser. And Netscape can hardly contain itself over the news.

This week, Netscape practically gloated at its ability to win even other browser makers over to Navigator, issuing a press release touting Oracle's licensing of 16,000 copies of the market-leading Navigator for the company's internal use. But Oracle quickly moved to dispel suspicions that the licensing deal means that PowerBrowser is moribund.

According to Sohib Abbasi, senior vice president of Oracle's tools division, PowerBrowser is not only alive but also kicking and will be spotlighted at the company's intranet strategy briefing July 16. PowerBrowser features support for Java, frames, and Basic scripting.

Abbasi says the Navigator licensing deal was meant to show that Oracle's InterOffice groupware servers--a key component of the company's intranet strategy--can work with any browser, not just PowerBrowser. Oracle also uses Internet Explorer internally through a site license for Windows 95, which comes with the Microsoft browser.

"Part of the reason we licensed windows and Navigator was we need to be able to show the openness [of InterOffice]," Abbasi said.

If Oracle were backing away from PowerBrowser, however, it wouldn't be the only one. Sun Microsystems recently repositioned its HotJava browser as a development tool rather than compete with either Navigator or Explorer.

Oracle is being tight-lipped about its intranet day briefing, but the company will describe at length how InterOffice will be used as the back-end applications server for the Network Computers expected to start arriving in force by Christmas. The company may also announce that it will bundle Navigator with InterOffice, according to sources.

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