Oracle and Netscape Communications has announced a stock-swap merger between Network Computer Inc (NCI), Oracle's Network Computer subsidiary, and Navio Communications, a Netscape spin-off that develops thin browsers for handheld devices and set-top boxes.
The move is designed to place Oracle in the market for thin clients, network devices, and the consumer market.
The new company, retaining the Navio name, will devote half its efforts to NC-related browsers and derivatives, and half to producing software for other devices.
Filling a gap
"Oracle is very serious about NCs; this is a strategic area," said Rick Sherlund, an analyst with Goldman Sachs in New York.
"Oracle will be able to acquire Navio for less than Microsoft spent on WebTV."
The deal fills a missing piece for Oracle, which has had a rocky development effort so far with its own NC browsers.
At a recent trade show, for example, Digital demonstrated a StrongARM NC, but the Oracle browser software it attempted to use was "unworkable", according to Digital officials there. So they used the Acorn browser.