Arch-rivals Microsoft and Netscape have bowed to user pressure to co-operate on internet standards support by pledging to sign a joint agreement.
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale are expected to sign a Web interoperability pledge this week that will ensure the two companies? competing Web products conform to the same standards.
The uneasy truce follows the competitors? first step towards co-operation, when Microsoft joined the Netscape-led group promoting the open profiling standard for internet user privacy.
The companies have also promised to support HTML tags recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards body, and they will submit any new HTML extensions to the body before shipping them.
Analysts have applauded Microsoft and Netscape?s move, claiming it was essential to prevent user alienation, which could have had knock-on effects on the companies? other businesses.
?Users are sick of the squabbling, which only has the result of causing them problems and spoiling the dream of internet interoperability,? said one attendant at last week?s Devcon, Netscape?s developer conference.
In April, user frustration was indicated by a 35,000-signature petition, posted on the Web, calling on the two software houses to stop bypassing the standards process in their rush to outdo each other in areas such as push technology.
W3C is developing specifications for protecting users? privacy and personal details when they surf the Web. Its project, Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3) is designed to conform to privacy laws in all countries.
According to P3 project manager Ralph Swick, preliminary specs will be available by the end of the year.
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