In an effort to stifle the momentum of Internet Explorer 4.0, which is due tomorrow, Netscape pre-announced a new technology code-named "Aurora" today that promises to add hard drive browsing capabilities to Communicator. Not due until mid-1998 with the next version of Communicator, Aurora is a direct response to Microsoft's efforts to integrate its IE 4.0 browser with Windows 98, allowing users to access files and e-mail messages through a browser interface.

Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale says that Netscape can offer the same OS integration that Microsoft does with IE 4.0's Active Desktop.

"\[Active Desktop features\] are not killer, overwhelming, unduplicatable features and functions," he said.

Barksdale called IE 4.0 cumbersome, bloated, and confusing.

"I have a house and I have a boat, but that doesn't mean I want a houseboat," the master of the one-liner quipped.

Aurora will ship first for Windows 95, 98, and NT, with support for UNIX and MacOS coming later. This is similar to Microsoft's rollout strategy for Internet Explorer, actually. Netscape believes that Web browsers--not Windows--will become the "common platform" of the future and Aurora is the first step in that direction