Oracle will maintain but not emphasise PowerBrowser

Confirming speculation that followed its licensing earlier this month of Netscape's browser, Oracle has lowered expectations for its own Internet browser.

Confirming speculation that followed its licensing earlier this month of Netscape's browser, Oracle has lowered expectations for its own Internet browser.

"We don't expect to be a leader in the browser market," says Raymond Lane, chief operating officer and president of Oracle. "We don't expect to compete because we don't make any revenue on our browser," he says, but he confirms that the company will continue to maintain its PowerBrowser product.

In town for Oracle's annual Asia/Pacific Business Alliance Conference, Lane says that the company views browsers as fast becoming commoditised and therefore not an attractive business for the relational database vendor.

"Browsers are becoming commodities and are merely a way to access information that resides elsewhere and that's on databases," he says.

The admission comes several weeks after the company licensed Netscape's Navigator for internal use by its 16,000 employees. Just weeks earlier, Oracle had rolled out PowerBrowser 1.5 boasting that the product was earlier to market with functions not yet found in Netscape's Navigator.

Lane says the decision to license Navigator was in some sense a formality -- already 5000 of Oracle's employees were using the popular browser so Oracle "basically licensed it to be compliant," he says.

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