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Netscape Communications

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Netscape Communications Corporation (or just Netscape) released the Netscape Navigator web browser.

Netscape Communications Corporation intends to be the premier provider of open software that enables people and companies to exchange information and conduct commerce over the Internet and other global networks. The company was founded in April 1994 by James H. Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics, a Fortune 500 computer systems company, and Marc Andreessen, creator of the NCSA Mosaic software for the Internet.


The Internet is a complex global network consisting of thousands of independent computer networks run by private businesses, government agencies, and educational and research institutions. Rather than a specific kind of network, however, the Internet is actually better thought of as a set of standards or protocols that lets various types of networks intercommunicate. The protocol, called TCP/IP, facilitates communications between public and private networks running over any medium: phone lines, traditional network lines, fiber, and even cable television wires and wireless systems. It is also computer-independent, running across PCs, Macintoshes, workstations, and mainframes.

Across the Internet, users can share information, discuss topics of interest, research various subjects, or -- increasingly -- conduct commerce. Commercial use of the Internet promises to be an area of explosive growth in the years ahead, as companies look for ways to reach the increasing number of users online and to leverage the Internet to streamline and improve their businesses.

To gain access, a company or organization creates a local network using off-the-shelf technology from any of a number of vendors and then pays an Internet service provider for a link from that network to the Internet. An individual at home can also link his or her computer to the Internet through an Internet service provider. Once connected, an individual can communicate with any other person on the Internet, even if that person resides halfway around the world.

According to industry estimates, as many as 40 million people are on the Internet today, with that number growing at 10 to 15 percent per month. Today, the Internet spans all developed continents and countries. While more than 50 percent of current Internet users are in companies or organizations, the number of home users is growing rapidly.

As more and more corporate users gain Internet access from their desktops, companies are realizing the potential for information systems and enterprise applications hosted on internal Internet servers. The Internet enables organizations to connect geographically dispersed facilities, remote offices, and mobile employees using Netscape's client-server software. These products enable corporations to improve communications, distribute information, lower operating costs, and reengineer operations. For example, Netscape's servers with integrated security allow corporate users to publish confidential information electronically within and across departments and locations, host secure newsgroups for internal discussions, and collaborate across departments.


Netscape Communications offers a full line of open software to facilitate electronic commerce and secure information exchange on the Internet and private TCP/IP-based networks. The software line includes three families of products: Netscape Navigator client software, Netscape Server software, and Netscape Commercial Applications. The products deliver secure communications, advanced performance, and point-and-click simplicity to companies and individuals who want to create or access information services on the Internet or private TCP/IP networks. Netscape software offers easy-to-use interfaces for serving and accessing multimedia information on the Net, including formatted text, graphics, audio, and video. The products are based on industry-standard protocols and are fully compatible with other HTTP-based clients and servers.

Netscape Navigator is a powerful commercial network navigator, using principles of point-and-click network navigation. It is optimized to run smoothly over 14.4Kbps modems as well as higher-bandwidth lines, offering performance up to ten times that of other browsers. Netscape Navigator provides a common feature set and graphical user interface across computers running Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, or X Window operating environments. It incorporates the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) open protocol for Internet security, enabling customers to take advantage of such commercial offerings as online publications, financial services, and interactive shopping. Netscape Navigator 1.1 also features the Netscape client application programming interface for easy integration with third-party applications, advanced layout capabilities for more visually compelling pages, and dynamic document updating for changing information.

The Netscape Server line allows companies or individuals to easily set up and maintain servers for publishing information and conducting commercial operations on the Internet or corporate IP networks. Netscape Servers offer increased performance over other HTTP-based servers by reducing response times and making efficient use of available processor power and communications bandwidth. The Netscape Server application programming interface (NSAPI) lets the servers be easily extended or integrated with commercial or custom applications, such as user or transaction databases, or full-text search engines. The Netscape Server line includes Netscape Communications Server, Netscape Commerce Server, Netscape News Server, and Netscape Proxy Server.

Available for Unix and Windows NT platforms, Netscape Communications Server is designed for organizations that want to deliver multimedia content to various audiences, such as customer support information to existing customers, online marketing materials to potential customers, and corporate information to employees. It includes basic access authorization, which requires a user to specify user name and password to gain access. The server can dynamically scale to handle heavy loads or be extended to incorporate new features and functionality using the NSAPI. Like all Netscape Server offerings, Netscape Communications Server provides an intuitive, self-documenting configuration and management user interface for easy setup and maintenance.

Netscape Commerce Server, in addition to the above features, adds the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) open protocol to enable secure commerce to be conducted over global networks. The application protocol-independent SSL provides encryption, which creates a secured channel to prevent others from tapping into the network; authentication, which uses certificates and digital signatures to verify the identity of parties in information exchanges and transactions; and message integrity, which ensures that messages cannot be altered en route. Netscape Commerce Server is designed for online transactions and electronic data exchange, enabling users to send sensitive documents over networks in a secured manner.

Netscape News Server is a new member of the Netscape Server family that enables companies to create their own public and private discussion groups for information exchange between employees, customers, or any other audiences. Incorporating SSL, Netscape News Server lets users for the first time create secure forums for confidential or proprietary information.

Netscape Proxy Server, another new addition to the Netscape Server family, provides secure Internet access and increased performance for corporate users behind a firewall. Netscape Proxy Server provides high-speed caching of information, which reduces overall network load and increases response times for corporate users requesting previously accessed data from the Internet. This in turn reduces the cost of a company's Internet link.

The Netscape Commercial Applications family is a new line of turnkey software applications that enables companies to conduct full-scale electronic commerce on the Internet. Netscape Merchant System, Netscape Community System, and Netscape Publishing System are the first applications to integrate high-volume transaction processing, real-time data management, easy-to-use interfaces, and secure communications for creating sophisticated online services and large-scale businesses on the Net.

A fourth application, called Netscape IStore, is the first of the Netscape Commercial Applications aimed at the individual business owner. Netscape IStore provides the integrated data management, online credit card authorization, billing, and order processing capabilities required to build and manage a virtual storefront.

All Netscape Commercial Applications incorporate Netscape Commerce Server and a relational database management system, in addition to advanced functionality.