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Netscape, MS race to finish line

Netscape and Microsoft are in the final stretch on the third major releases of their browsers, and they're neck and neck.

As Netscape Communications and Microsoft are in the final stretch on the third major releases of their browsers, and they're neck and neck.

Netscape has touched-up Navigator 3.0 with a new beta version of the browser. Beta 6 of Navigator, with the final version of Navigator 3.0 due out later this month, put Netscape virtually in sync with Microsoft, which is planning to post the final version of Internet Explorer 3.0 on the Net on August 13.

The new beta version features mostly minor changes, including performance improvements to Java, JavaScript printing, and international character encoding. The complete feature list for beta 6 is available on the company's Web site.

Both companies are also preparing administration kits that allow information system managers to customize Web browsers, including adding the ability to block out Java applets and change the browser interface.

Netscape, which plans to release its kit for Navigator 3.0 this month, will charge customers $1,995 for the kit. But Microsoft says it will give away its Internet Explorer Administration Kit 3.0 for free. The Microsoft kit is due this month or early next, according to the company.

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