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Novell to Bundle IE with NetWare 5.0

As part of an effort to equip its next-generation operating system for use with the Internet, Novell Inc. announced that it will bundle Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser with NetWare 5.0, and IE will be available for users of NetWare 5.0’s predecessors.

Traditionally, people haven’t used NetWare to get to the Web. Ancestral versions of the operating system were not designed to do so. "NetWare 5.0 puts Novell into the Internet space for the first time. The 3.x versions didn’t really accomplish that," says Peter Clegg, Internet product manager, Novell.

In addition to arming the operating system for the Web, Novell and Microsoft are turning the tides of a sour relationship. "This marks a new era of our relationship with Microsoft," says Clegg. "But that’s basically a matter of course since we’re coming to a point where almost all corporate networks have both Microsoft and Novell products."

While putting past differences with Microsoft aside, Novell is fueling the fire between Microsoft and Netscape Communications Corp., whose Communicator browser is already bundled with Novell’s operating system. "The main reason we bundled IE is that we want to supply our customers with freedom of choice," adds Clegg.

IE will be available for all NetWare customers as part of a regularly updated client CD, as well as shipping with future versions of NetWare. Although it will not be included in the initial shipment of NetWare 5.0, IE will be in the box in the near future. Netscape’s Communicator will continue to ship with Novell products, and both browsers will interface with the Netscape FastTrack Web server included in NetWare 5.0.

Currently, Netscape and Microsoft divide browser market share almost equally. Clegg doesn’t believe that bundling the two browsers will change that much. "A browser decision is not usually made as a NOS decision," he says. "I doubt the bundling will really change which browser people choose. Instead, I would expect it to mirror what the market in general is doing."

Meanwhile, getting IE into the hands of the twenty million or more new nodes of NetWare that Clegg says are installed annually won’t hurt Microsoft’s battle for market share. But it does fit in nicely with another of Novell’s offerings, Zero Effort Networks (ZENworks). "Part of what you’ll be able to do with ZENworks is push IE and Communicator to the desktop," explains Clegg. -- Thomas Sullivan, Staff Reporter/Reviews Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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