Sun announces plan to enter browser, portal markets

Sun Microsystems announced an interesting plan this week to make its HotJava browser more competitive with Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. Also in the pipeline is a Web portal strategy that will have Sun creating the infrastructure needed to make portals work better.

"No one underestimates the importance of Netscape on the desktop today. We share the fear of the existence of a single browser, which could turn the world into a company store where everyone is forced to pay with company money--Microsoft's," said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's director of enterprise products. "We have refocused as a company on creating a Java-based browser."

Sun's HotJava Web browser was introduced two years ago as a proof of concept (it was built using Java) but the product hasn't been updated much. Sun plans on introducing a new, full-featured version of HotJava in December at the Java Business Expo in New York City. As for Netscape, Sun realizes that its plans will bring it face to face with one of its biggest partners.

"We'll work together on some business, and \[compete\] in others," Schwartz said.

Sun president Alan Baratz says the company is also taking a stab at the Web portal market, where it will offer the tools and services needed to make portals work. Sun won't build its own portal, but will rather sell its technology to ISPs and other companies that want to build their own

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