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Microsoft Y2K site only accessible on IE

Users of Netscape's Communicator browser who turn to Microsoft for help with the Year 2000 computer glitch may find themselves encountering glitches of their own.

Users of Netscape's Communicator browser who turn to Microsoft for help with the Year 2000 computer glitch may find themselves encountering glitches of their own.

Microsoft's Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure & Resource Center isn't fully accessible with Netscape's browser, according to a report to be published by the Internet Tourbus newsletter.

While Communicator users can access the Microsoft site, they are unable to order Microsoft's "Year 2000 Resource Center CD" from the Web. Communicator users submitting a form get an "HTTP Error 400" response, which reads, "Due to malformed syntax, the request could not be understood by the server. The client should not repeat the request without modifications."

The CD features "product guides, white papers, and year 2000 information," according to a press release Microsoft issued last month. "In the second quarter the CD will also include assessment tools and information on how customers can address their end-to-end year 2000 compliance challenge, including hardware, operating system, applications, documents, custom code, and data interfaces."

Domestic Communicator users can order the CD by phone, but users in other countries cannot, noted Patrick Crispen of the Internet Tourbus.

"Microsoft is committed to making our Web site available to the broadest possible audience," said Microsoft spokesperson Adam Sohn. "Especially when it comes to something as crucial as Y2K. If there's a problem, you can bet we're fixing it."

Microsoft said it had not confirmed the problem, but that it would work to fix it if it proved to be there. Shortly after speaking to CNET News.com, however, Microsoft posted the following notice on the page: "Attention Netscape Navigator 4.5 users: You may not be able to submit your order due to a problem we are currently working to correct. We apologize for any inconvenience."

Netscape confirmed that the problem exists.

"We have certified that we're locked out," said Netscape spokesperson Jim Adamson. "Our initial look does not indicate a problem with Communicator. We will be more than happy to work with Microsoft to resolve the problem. We want everyone to have access to Y2K information."

Adamson added that Netscape's Y2K site, coproduced with the Defense Department, is fully accessible using Internet Explorer.

Under the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act, signed into law by President Clinton last year, companies are encouraged to liberally provide as much information as possible on the Y2K bug. The new law offers limited liability protections to encourage companies to share information among themselves and with the public.