RealTime IT News

Netscape Communicator 4.5 Gets Real

Streaming media company RealNetworks Inc. took a shot at rival Microsoft Corp. Monday by sealing a deal with Netscape Communications Corp. to include its Real Player 5.0 in the Communicator 4.5 Internet suite.

In addition to being bundled with Netscape's browser, Real Player 5.0 will also be available on the Netcenter portal site. The companies also plan to include the final version of RealPlayer G2 in the Communicator package by the end of the year. Real's G2 player is currently undergoing open beta testing.

Financial terms of the distribution agreement were not disclosed.

Just as Netscape is battling Microsoft for position in the browser market, Real's main competition comes from Microsoft's NetShow. Both products allow Internet publishers to stream audio and video to computers connected to the Internet.

Today's deal adds Netscape to the list of companies with which RealNetworks has distribution agreements. Recently the media firm entered into agreements with America Online, 24/7 Media and Inktomi to distribute RealPlayer software.

With this agreement, Netscape and RealNetworks will accelerate the availability of compelling audio and video content on the Internet," said Rob Glaser, chairman and chief executive officer of RealNetworks.

Communicator 4.5 has been in beta testing since this past July. By combining RealPlayer software, version 4.5 integrates Smart Browsing capabilities and streaming multimedia content. Communicator 4.5 software also includes high-performance e-mail, centralized management capabilities for IT departments and improved support for mobile users.

Also bundled in version 4.5 is Macromedia's Flash animation software.

"We believe this version will help to open up the Net to many new users, and everyone will appreciate the enriched content and superior features it delivers through its integration with Netscape Netcenter," said Mike Homer, executive vice president and general manager of Netscape's Netcenter division.