Netscape Releases Test of Updated Browser

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Netscape Communications Corp. of Mountain View made the test version of its updated browser software available on the Internet, putting it a few months ahead of Microsoft Corp. The software, called Communicator, adds more sophisticated e-mail and groupware, which is used to exchange information between computers. The software, designed to appeal to companies using Internet technology to build computer networks, competes with Microsoft's Exchange and BackOffice programs. Certain additions that had been promised, such as security features and the ability to check e-mail remotely, will be added in later versions. Microsoft expects to release the test version of its new browser software in the next three months, later than originally expected. Netscape shares lost $1.25 to close at $52.75 on Nasdaq, while Microsoft shares rose 12.5 cents to close at $83.75.

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