As IT firms embrace standards, "the balance of power shifts from vendors to users. Users select the technology first, then the vendor," said Quentin Gallivan, Netscape's newly-appointed vice-president for Asia Pacific. As befitting Netscape's (some say disingenuous) pro-standards stance, Gallivan combined his presentation on Netscape's new office in Sydney with numerous references to the company's belief that open standards are good not only for Netscape - but the entire industry.
"We don't own any of the standards - such as Java or HTML - we just embrace them and use them," Gallivan said. Netscape's explosive growth in the last year "has been driven by open standards", he said.
With Netscape holding an estimated 85 per cent of the worldwide Web browser market, according to statistics from research firm Dataquest, Gallivan has reason to be cavalier. "We previously had 75 per cent of the market and Microsoft rolled out their big competing product Explorer . . . [dramatic pause] . . . and now we have 85 per cent of the market," he said.
In addition to naming Clive Mahew-Begg as country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Netscape is in the process of hiring additional staff for its new Sydney office. "We may hire as many as 30 [marketing and technical support] people, depending on what we find the market needs," he said. Gallivan is also setting up Netscape offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Gallivan says Netscape has "no plans to go direct" in Australia and has high praise for sole distributor Com Tech. Asked whether he is concerned about potential conflicts of interest Com Tech may face, since it also distributes Lotus Notes, Gallivan was, again, breezy. "Right now sales are going so well, that's not something that concerns me," he said.