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MS fixes another glitch

Microsoft corrects a problem that prevented users from downloading its FrontPage97 Web authoring and management tool using Netscape's Navigator.

Microsoft has corrected a problem that prevented users from downloading its FrontPage97 Web authoring and management tool using Netscape Communications' Navigator browser.

The FrontPage97 problem, reported by CNET yesterday, was the second this month in the distribution of a new Microsoft product. Users had complained that the product could be downloaded using Microsoft's Internet Explorer but not with its archrival browser, Navigator.

The reason: There was no "go to download" button on the Netscape Communications version as there was with IE; the icon had been inadvertently left off.

FrontPage97 Product Manager Bob Crissman conceded the company made a mistake. The error actually had been corrected after the pages were reviewed, he explained, but the wrong page still got posted.

The distribution mistake, which had nothing to do with FrontPage97 itself, generated a considerable volume of email from frustrated users, he said. Microsoft fixed the problem overnight, posting a new, corrected page for downloading on Navigator.

"It was a dumb error," Crissman said, noting that Microsoft employees are working long hours to get a myriad of products launched on time.

It makes good business sense to distribute the product to Netscape Navigator users, because it's the dominant browser, Crissman said. "We're realistic," he added succinctly.

As CNET reported last week, a glitch in distributing Microsoft's Internet Explorer administration kit temporarily frustrated some users. Microsoft had promised a ten-digit code to activate the software, but the kit came only with a seven-digit code, making it impossible to open the application.

An outside vendor handled the distribution, but Microsoft took responsibility. The problem was fixed the next day.