Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen predicts applets, to be deployed on Network Computers (NCs), will be vastly different from the run-of-the-mill applications embedded in office suites on most desktop computers today. The Web pioneer's senior vice-president of technology, who spoke at a conference on intranet services in Hong Kong last week, said there was a diminishing requirement for spreadsheets, word-processing software and database software. 'In future, everything will be out there on the Web,' Mr Andreessen said. 'You will use word-processors less and less because the reason to type in a document on a computer word-processor was originally to save it and print out before delivering it to somebody. Now all those functions are done in e-mail.' He said it would be applets focusing on vertical software market segments that would thrive in the NC model of distributing software over a network instead of in a shrinkwrap box. 'Software for managing human resources, recruiting, manufacturing, sales force issues - these are all naturals for this model,' he said. Mr Andreessen said the spreadsheet would soon be obsolete, citing the availability of historical data already on the Web from electronic financial instrument traders such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity and E*Trade. 'Nobody wants to start with a blank spreadsheet anymore,' Mr Andreessen said. 'We will have access to a sophisticated library of spreadsheets holding the quarterly results of every company in the US for the last 100 years. 'We will all be able to download them to look at them to check out what sort of business plans we should adopt.' He said this was only a small jump from what the on-line securities traders already were doing on the Web. Mr Andreesen is touring Asia to promote Netscape's intranet-Internet client and server software Communicator and SuiteSpot. Communicator, positioned as a groupware client to take custom from rival vendors such as Lotus, Novell and Microsoft, is still in beta but will be openly released this month. It incorporates version 4.0 of the market-leading Web browser Netscape Navigator, and Netscape Messenger for e-mail; Netscape Collabra for collaborative work; Netscape AutoAdmin for centralised client administration; Netscape Conference for real-time collaboration; Netscape Composer for HTML content creation, Netscape Calendar for scheduling and, later this year, Netscape Constellation for the firm's push technology implementation. Mr Andreessen will deliver a keynote address to Networld+Interop in Tokyo tomorrow. The SuiteSpot components include Enterprise Server, Catalog Server, Messaging Server, Collabra Server, Calendar Server, Proxy Server, Directory Server and Media Server. He said Netscape had its strategic roadmap ready for the next 12 months but would not be tempted to join the content business. 'There is going to be a lot of infrastructure built in the next few years as everybody puts together intranets,' Mr Andreessen said. 'We can offer a lot of software that can streamline this new platform.' The management of personal information to make sure that network users can avoid and cope with the information overload, is one area that Mr Andreessen specified. The company has about 800 developers in its workforce of 2,100, mostly in California. Mr Andreessen said Netscape, which did localisation for its foreign language software in Tokyo, Ireland and China through partnerships and subsidiaries, was considering expansion of its development pool, possibly to India or another Asian nation.