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Netscape signing up distributors

The company will announce it is making inroads in the great software distribution battle--with a little help from the Justice Department.

Netscape Communications (NSCP) will announce tomorrow that it is making inroads in the great software distribution battle--with a little help from the Justice Department.

The company will announce that more than See special coverage: Netscape's wild ride 3,000 companies--including original equipment makers (OEMs), Internet service providers, software developers, and Web content providers--have agreed to distribute more than 36 million copies of its client software through this year.

Netscape said this is the result of its "unlimited distribution" program, which comes in concert with its deal to make its client software free. Netscape executive vice president Mike Homer added in a statement: "In addition, with the Justice Department's enforcement of antitrust laws, OEMs will have more opportunity to make Netscape's software readily available to their customers."

Companies such as Autodesk, Clarisys, and McGraw-Hill, among others, have joined the program, according to Netscape. The companies will distribute the software through bundling with hardware or software or via CD-ROMs and floppy disks.

Netscape's stock surged today on unconfirmed rumors of a possible buyout by Sun Microsystems. Netscape declined comment.