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Apple gets help from Netscape

The latest version of Apple's QuickTime video format receives a significant endorsement from Netscape, which will bundle it with Communicator.

The latest version of Apple Computer's (AAPL) QuickTime video format received a significant endorsement today from Netscape Communications (NSCP), which will bundle Apple's QuickTime plug-in 1.1 with its forthcoming Communicator product.

@Home also threw its support behind QuickTime 1.1, pledging to include the plug-in with the custom version of Navigator available to subscribers of its cable Internet service.

Netscape's bundling of the new video-audio plug-in with the Macintosh and Windows versions of Communicator caps a year of warm fuzzies between the company and Apple. In April, Netscape agreed to include an earlier version of the QuickTime plug-in with Navigator 3.0 browser and, in August, announced that it would turn Communicator--then code-named Galileo--into an OpenDoc component for the Mac.

A beta version of Communicator is due out before the end of this year.

The QuickTime plug-in 1.1, which can be downloaded from Apple's Web site, comes with support for QuickTime virtual reality environments, including the ability to click on hyperlinks embedded in the VR panorama. The plug-in also supports more sophisticated set of commands that allow Webmasters to control video playback.

Today, Apple also announced that Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3.0 for Windows and Explorer 2.0 for Macintosh will work with QuickTime 1.1. However, Microsoft has not yet thrown itself behind QuickTime by agreeing to bundle the plug-in with its browsers.