Netscape will issue a head-on challenge to Windows by mid 1997 when it ships its Constellation desktop manager, demonstrated at Comdex last week.
Constellation manages and organises desktop applications on the intranet, and lets users get data and documents from any network on to the desktop.
It will form part of Netscape Communicator, the client part of the firm's intranet-based groupware offering, and is expected to compete with Windows 95.
Constellation is very similar to Microsoft's planned Active Desktop.
Both focus on pieces of information as the desktop environment. Communicator provides the links to applications for Constellation, making Windows 95 or NT just one of a screen of options.
But analysts including Zona Research, questioned whether Netscape will offer any real incentive for users to move away from Microsoft technologies.
'It's an alternative shell to Windows, but where's the added value?' said one analyst.
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