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Explorer 3.0 beta posted sans Java

Microsoft posted the first beta of its Internet Explorer 3.0, but without Java support.

Microsoft has posted the first beta release of its Internet Explorer 3.0, but this particular version does not include a number of key features, most notably support for Java and Netscape plug-ins.

The company is planning to put those features into the second beta version of the browser due in July. The final release of Internet Explorer 3.0 is expected sometime later in the summer, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The version available now includes JavaScript for writing scripts to control the behavior of Java applets, but without full-blown Java support, the browser can't run Java applets.

The company is positioning Internet Explorer 3.0 as an eye-to-eye competitor with the upcoming Version 3.0 of Netscape Communications' Navigator, also due this summer and already out in beta form.

But this release of Explorer was expected to deliver on both Java and plug-in support, as well as an integrated email and Usenet news client that will also not appear in this beta round. Navigator 2.0 has included all three of those features since last September.

Microsoft does offer a separate Internet email and Usenet client called Internet Mail and News, but the software is not integrated with Internet Explorer.

This beta release does catch up part of the way with Navigator 3.0, however. It will come with a helper application, called NetMeeting, that provides Internet telephony, application sharing, and whiteboard capabilities, sources said. It will also support Visual Basic Script, in addition to JavaScript.

The release also adds support for ActiveX controls. Navigator supports ActiveX controls but only through a plug-in developed by NCompass Labs.

Microsoft released an alpha version of Internet Explorer 3.0 during its Professional Developer Conference in March.

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