NCSA enters Microsoft world

Software deal: Company brings University prestige through the use of Mosaic

News Story by Sarah Farr

January 17, 1995

A program developed at the University's National Center for Supercomputing Applications is getting people's attention after a recent agreement with Microsoft.

Microsoft, the largest software company in the world, signed an agreement to incorporate the NCSA's Mosaic software into its own Microsoft products, said June Peters, a spokesperson for Microsoft.

The agreement was made in cooperation with Spyglass Inc., which has developed its own commercially enhanced version of Mosaic. Spyglass, a Savoy-based company, signed a multi-million dollar agreement with the NCSA and the University in August.

Although the terms of the Microsoft agreement cannot be discussed, it is very favorable for the University, said Randy Pitzer, Spyglass director of marketing and communications.

"In terms of visibility it says a lot about the University and the NCSA to be connected to the largest software company in the world," Pitzer said.

The Mosaic program allows people to look for information on the Internet's World Wide Web. Once it is integrated with Microsoft programs, it will "greatly accelerate the move toward an open, global approach to browsing the internet," said NCSA Director Larry Smarr in a press release.

Microsoft will be working closely with the University in developing protocols for future Internet technology, according to Peters.

As with most new software, Mosaic was not expected to be the success it is today, said George F. Badger Jr., University associate vice chancellor for computing and communications.

"People usually don't know how successful a program will be when it is first developed," Badger said.

"Mosaic is now the most successful software program we have developed at the University and the licensing of it has been very important to us," Badger said.

The enhanced Mosaic program has been getting attention from companies other than Microsoft. Spyglass signed licensing agreements totaling more than 12 million copies with such companies as Firefox, FTP Software, IBM's Networking Software Division, O'Reilly and Associates and Digital Equipment, said Tim Krauskopf, company co-founder and current vice president of research and development at Spyglass.

Krauskopf said having the University nearby makes the area "a great place to grow a technical company." About 75 percent of Spyglass' engineers have degrees from the University and its entire development effort is in the Champaign area, Krauskopf said.

Krauskopf said the agreement with Microsoft will mean that a lot of attention will be focused on the University and NCSA.

"It (the agreement) opens the door when you get the reputation they have for doing technology that people want to use. This is when you get noticed," Krauskopf said.

Copyright (c) 1995 Illini Media Company, all rights reserved.