Netscape, MS battle over object roadmaps

Netscape and Microsoft are once more clashing heads as they set out to court Web site developers..
Written by Martin Veitch, Contributor

Netscape will next Monday announce free tools that are compatible with a new standard called Netscape Open Network Environment (One) to give ISVs more flexibility in developing Internet and intra-net solutions. Most of the tools will ship in the fourth quarter of the year and Borland, Sun and Symantec will be among supporters.

Meanwhile, back in Redmond, Microsoft has said it will hand over its competing ActiveX controls to an independent body taken from software vendors, customers and other appropriate sources, including rivals. SunSoft, JavaSoft and Netscape will all be invited to join the so-far unnamed group. The ActiveX watchers would arbitrate on thorny issues such as interoperability with other object specifications


These are clearly moves to address respective criticisms. For Netscape, it answers critics who say that Microsoft's everything-is-free tools approach offers a cheaper, more flexible route. For Microsoft, it answers suspicions that Big Green will become steadily more proprietary (though not the subsidiary criticism that ActiveX is innately Windows-specific).

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