Lotus in partnership discussions with Netscape

While Lotus is executing a strategy to attack the Internet, the company is also considering aligning with would-be competitor Netscape to battle their common adversary, Microsoft.

While Lotus is executing a strategy to attack the Internet, the company is also considering aligning with would-be competitor Netscape to battle their common adversary, Microsoft.

Although he dismisses recent rumours that Lotus and Netscape will cross-license their Internet server software, Lotus general manager Papows says that there are other areas where the two companies can work together.

"This is one of those places where you are going to see strange types of co-opetition," Papows says, referring to the Internet market. "We are two companies with one common enemy."

Lotus executives have had meetings with executives from Netscape, Papows says, and discussions are on-going.

"You'd be surprised at the level of congeniality" at these meetings, he says. "Netscape is a company I admire ... I suspect we will do things together."

Lotus holds an OEM licence of Netscape's browser client, Navigator, as does its parent company, IBM, although the software vendor has not yet decided to exercise it.

While Lotus is following IBM's lead in working with Netscape, one area in which Lotus flatly refuses to take IBM orders is in implementing the OpenDoc standard. Microsoft's similar ActiveX technology is vastly superior, Papows says, and Lotus holds no hope for this competing component document specification's future.

"I hate to say it, but Microsoft has done a wonderful job with OLE 2. We're very ActiveX- and Java-centric, and we're not doing a thing with OpenDoc," he says. "It's important to IBM, but we don't think it will matter; we've agreed to disagree with IBM."

Lotus is at http://www.lotus.com/.

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