Re: Browser Wars -- taking on NetScape (fwd)

From: Rich Ring (
Date: Thu Sep 05 1996 - 08:35:30 PDT

I submit this information simply to make all of you aware of the serious
problems we face in terms of overall access.

The original,
Rich Ring

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 1996 16:16:08 -0700
From: Jim Rebman <jrebman@NETCOM.COM>
Reply-To: Access to GUI via Speech <GUISPEAK@LISTSERV.NODAK.EDU>
Subject: Re: Browser Wars -- taking on NetScape

Janina Sajka wrote, in part:
> in access features while Netscape is thumbing its nose at our
> community. I believe this gives MS clear preference in sales to
> governmental entities like the Federal Government, all state
> governmental agencies and departments, state universities, colleges,
> high and elementary schools, etc. It's the law...

Then she continued with:

> I further believe it's in our community's interest to have MS's
> competitors establish access teams. Our best weapon is still 508
> because it hits 'em in the pocketbook. We need to launch the 1996
> version of the 1994 strategy that got Bill G to sit up and notice.


I whole-heartedly agree with your concern about NetScape, and
their total lack of awareness of, and cooperation with the
disabled community. A couple of weeks ago, another member of
this list took me to task for sounding a "clarion call" to start
aggressively pursuing accessibility concerns with NetScape. He
cited that NetScape was nothing more than a browser, and as far
as browsers are concerned, there are alternatives to NetScape.
I agree that this is the case, but NetScape is far more than a
browser -- it is a corporation with a huge installed base and
market share, and who has much more than browsers on their mind
(see press release below). The browser is somewhat accessible
with certain screen readers, and many people are using it with
*some* degree of efficiency, but it could be better. The real
problem is their continuing disregard for the html standard, and
the mechanisms through which extensions to html are brought to
the market, and of course, they have no idea of the impact of
most of these extensions on people who must use alternative
input and output devices. Going beyond those concerns, NetScape
is also working on their own language called CORBA, which is
designed to compete with Sun's JAVA, and Microsoft's ActiveX
languages, and you have to know that there will be absolutely no
provisions for accessibility in this product -- they simply
don't care. So, if there were no web sites or other devices
that used their proprietary extensions to html, or their CORBA
language, or any of the other Navigator technologies that are
forthcoming, or if their architecture was open enough for others
to provide alternative accessible solutions then, I would say
who cares about NetScape. The reality is that what they are
doing has the potential to do even more damage to the
accessibility of information, computers, and even other
household appliances, than we are already faced with. They are
a looming dark cloud, and they need to be exposed for what they
are. We will all suffer if they are not made to answer to the
ethical, moral, and legal courts. The following excerpt is from
the August 23rd edition of Interactive Age Digital:

Netscape Communications will announce on Monday its plans to incorporate its
Navigator technology into a wide range of consumer products, including
pagers, video games, cell phones and cable TV set-top boxes.
"The strategy is to have Navigator running everywhere," says
co-founder Marc Andreessen. The company has already formed a
top-secret subsidiary, staffed with 30 to 50 people, to develop
operating systems for those devices.

---- End excerpt ----

Janina, let me know how I can help you in your efforts. We
should all be very concerned about this.

-- Jim Rebman <>

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