Spyglass exiting the browser business in favor of components?

Rohit Khare (khare@pest.w3.org)
Mon, 1 Apr 96 21:09:13 -0500

Spyglass Inc., one of the first World-Wide Web browser makers, is getting out
of the browser business, leaving Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications
Corp. to battle for the Web desktop interface crown.

Spyglass is expected to announce this month that it will stop development of
its Mosaic Web browser, said sources close to the Naperville, Ill., company.

Instead, Spyglass will focus its efforts on delivering a Web Technology Kit
comprising Internet components that ISVs and software developers can use to
add Internet links to their applications, according to sources.

Despite the break from the client application, users will find that Spyglass
is merely extending its core business, observers said.

"This is something we have been asking to have for a long time," said Jon
Werner, a product manager at TriTeal, a Spyglass licensee that uses Mosaic to
add Internet capabilities to its Unix-based enterprise desktop application.
"Right now, we get their browser and have to rip apart the software to make it
work with our application."

The new Spyglass kit, due this summer, will include Hypertext Transport
Protocol, Hypertext Markup Language, Java, ActiveX, Virtual Reality Modeling
Language, and nearly 25 other technologies spanning security, intelligent
agents, and core Internet protocols.

The move by Spyglass comes nearly a month after Microsoft announced plans to
embed its Internet Explorer browser into Windows 95. The Redmond, Wash.,
company released to beta testers an Internet Control Pack, a free set of
ActiveX controls co-developed with NetManage Inc. that Windows developers can
use to add Internet capabilities to their applications.

The Spyglass initiative, however, will enable the components to run not only
on Windows, but also on Macintosh and Unix platforms, said sources.

In addition, sources said the Spyglass components will make applications act
as "containers" that allow developers to Internet-enable an ActiveX control or
Netscape Plug-In without having to embed them in a browser.

As part of its strategy, Spyglass is expected to lower its license fees for
its technology.

Spyglass officials declined to comment.