Netscape seizes moment, plans anti-IE campaign

Netscape Communications is using the current government action against Microsoft to roll out a new campaign aimed at promoting its Navigator Web browser over Internet Explorer. Dubbed "freedom of choice," the Web-based campaign will tell users how to remove Internet Explorer from their systems while offering a button on Web sites that will automatically download Navigator. Netscape hasn't yet released a list of Web sites that will display this button, but 30,000 sites are now displaying the "Netscape Now" button.

"We're working on a strategy to proliferate \[the button\]," said Michael Homer, Netscape's executive VP of sales and marketing during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Netscape is also taking this oppurtunity to revisit hardware manufacturers and renew relationships so that they might get Navigator preinstalled on more systems. Netscape CEO James Barksdale says that Microsoft's troubles in court will have a "short-term nice effect" on Netscape's business.

Also being considered is a plan to start giving away Navigator for free again. Netscape's early versions of Navigator were free, but the company started charging users once it became the only usable tool for Web browsing. The release of Internet Explorer 3.0 in 1996 began Netscape's slide from domination, however. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has said that his company will "never" charge money for Internet Explorer, which has been steadily gaining on Navigator since last year

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