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Browser market up for grabs, firms say

Surprisingly few firms surveyed think Netscape or Microsoft will win the browser battle.

A survey of 400 companies on the Fortune 1000 list shows that 90 percent of companies are using or planning to use corporate intranets, but only 30 percent of those surveyed think that either Netscape Communications or Microsoft are going to win the battle of the browsers.

Conducted by the Delphi Consulting Group, the survey polled buyers, evaluators, and users of intranet products.

More than 50 percent of respondents believe that Web browsers will become the standard for desktop computing, even beating out proprietary operating systems such as Windows. But only ten percent of those surveyed believed that Netscape will become the dominant desktop environment for intranets, and only 20 percent thought Microsoft would be the dominant system or browser.

Yet the survey did not indicate who respondents believe will win out--an understandable void, given the limited number of alternative contenders. Between them, Netscape and Microsoft control more than 90 percent of the existing market.

Survey participants also don't believe that Internet boxes, such as Oracle's Network Computer, will prevail in a corporate environment, at least in the short term. Twenty-two percent did believe that NCs will eventually dominate the home consumer market, however, and 40 percent of the respondents believe that market share for such devices would creep up to about 20 percent in the corporate world within the next five years.

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