Oracle and Netscape traded insults after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said the browser firm could not survive Microsoft's onslaught. Netscape in turn accused Oracle of planning a hostile takeover bid.
The fall-out of the two, previously united in their fight against MS, occurred after Ellison snubbed Netscape by declaring the company's Web browser, Netscape Navigator, had 'no chance of surviving'.
He mocked the firm's flotation on the stock market, calling it a 'drug-induced IPO'.
Jim Barksdale, Netscape CEO, responded last week by accusing Ellison of trying to upset his firm's share price prior to making a takeover bid.
'He is talking down Netscape's stock because he wants to acquire the company,' said Barksdale, according to a report in the Financial Times.
He suggested Ellison was desperate to pocket Netscape to help boost Oracle's profile in the Internet market and his own personal profile against long-term rival Microsoft president Bill Gates.
The clash coincides with Oracle's launch of a suite of server-level products, including Oracle Web Server 3, making it a direct competitor of Netscape as well as Microsoft.
The product will contain a Web request broker, allowing developers to create Web applications using Oracle databases.
If Ellison has his eyes on Netscape it will not come cheap - the Internet firm's market capitalisation is estimated to be about $4 billion, making it a tough takeover target.
Microsoft has launched its Visual J++ development tool, which creates Java-compatible applets and allows users to take advantage of Active X controls and components.
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