IBM, Lotus, Oracle and Sun Announce Plans for Joint Development of Java™-Based Desktop Specification

'Webtop Specification' to Provide 700,000 Java Developers With Common Desktop APIs

NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 1997 -- IBM Corp., Lotus Development Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced a cooperative development initiative to bring the first unified network computing desktop environment to the industry. As a result, network computers and personal computers will be able to run consistently any application built to a single set of specifications, to be called the "Webtop Specification."

In an industry first, a team of software developers from each company will create this next-generation network computing desktop standard. Built upon open Internet standards, the new specification is planned to provide developers and hardware manufacturers a consistent environment and APIs to build and deploy applications for Java™-based network computers (NCs), personal computers and other network computing clients. This approach is designed to ensure that customers will be able to select the most appropriate network device for a given application and be presented with a consistent user interface.

Software developers will be able to take advantage of a common set of services and APIs, allowing them to build applications more efficiently, and to a common environment that is expected to be readily adopted by the industry. It will eliminate the need for developers to worry about services common to all applications. Network computer hardware manufacturers will be able to deploy desktop environmentsbuilt using the "Webtop Specification" for use on PCs and NCs with confidence that applications written to open Internet standards such as Java, will work without modification.

Developers and hardware manufacturers will be able to license the "Webtop Specification" and reference implementation from each of the participating vendors. Specification availability will be announced shortly.

"Our customers view network computers as an important element in their e-business initiatives," said Patricia Sueltz, vice president Internet Software at IBM. "By cooperating to create a common Webtop environment for our users and developers, IBM, Lotus and our partners will help accelerate the adoption of this valuable technology."

Lotus President Jeff Papows said, "customers derive tremendous confidence from having their technology providers working in cooperation, and the plans that we're announcing today are the best evidence yet that network computing will serve customers -- first and foremost. As a result of the work that we plan to undertake, developers will be able to address the demand for Java- based solutions with confidence that their products will run consistently across NC and PC platforms. We couldn't be more excited to take this work forward with the commitment of Sun, Oracle and IBM, as well as the support and participation of others, including Netscape Communications Corp."

"This announcement comes as a major industry endorsement for network computing, and the move to open Internet standards," said Karen White,senior vice president, Global Marketing and Strategic Business Development at Oracle Corp. "We expect this convergence of industry leaders around the Webtop to accelerate the availability of business and personal productivity applications based on a common, widely available desktop."

"The desktop API initiative announced today opens up an entirely new desktop paradigm for the industry," said Alan Baratz, president of JavaSoft, a business unit of Sun Microsystems, Inc. "The Webtop has seen such widespread support, and we are excited to be working with the industry to build it together."

Lotus Development Corporation, founded in 1982, is a subsidiary of IBM Corporation. Lotus offers high quality software products and services that reflect the company's unique understanding of the new ways in which individuals and businesses must work together to achieve success. Lotus' innovative approach is evident in a new class of applications that allow users to access and communicate information in ways never before possible, both within and beyond organizational boundaries. Lotus now markets its products in more than 80 countries worldwide and provides numerous professional consulting, support and education services through the Lotus Services Group.

Oracle Corporation is the world's leading supplier of software for information management and the world's second largest software company. With annual revenues of $6 billion, the company offers its database, tools and application products along with related consulting,education and support services, in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information about Oracle, contact Oracle's Headquarters at 650-506-7000. Oracle's World Wide Web address is (URL)

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision, "The Network Is The Computer™" has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. to its position as a leading provider of hardware, software and services for establishing enterprise-wide intranets and expanding the power of the Internet. With more than $8.5 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 150 countries and on the World Wide Web at (URL)

NOTE: Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. Lotus and eSuite are registered trademarks of Lotus Development Corp. Sun, the Sun logo, Sun Microsystems, The Network Is The Computer, JavaSoft, and Java are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc.