Microsoft Rivals Unveil Product in Fight for Software Leadership

Article excerpt

A fight to shape the direction of the software industry sharpened Monday when Sun Microsystems Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp. rolled out a new product, hoping it will beat out those upcoming from Microsoft.

The product, JavaScript, is designed to let everyday computer users, not just skilled programmers, make software that works easily on electronic networks, particularly the Internet.

Microsoft is due to promote its own software tool for such a purpose on Thursday.

It will likely be months or years before consumers and most businesses benefit. But the companies are now fighting to win the attention and respect of corporate programmers who decide what products become standard.

"The people they're trying to convince are the developers," said Jerry Michalski, managing editor of Release 1.0, an industry newsletter.

With the evolution of faster communications lines and new kinds of computer devices, experts believe big opportunities are ahead for software that can be downloaded through a network from a different computer and used when needed. …