Netscape Communications Corp. today will unveil its newest Internet browser, introducing new features similar to rival Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer browser, which was made available last week.
Netscape's Navigator 3.0 will search out content from the Internet based on users' specified interests and deliver it to their personal computers. It also includes technology to carry three-dimensional video electronic mail.
In their continuing battle for the Internet market, Microsoft and Netscape have both packaged their latest browsers with free access until the end of the year to popular Internet sites, including a high-profile newspaper and a sports service.
Netscape's Navigator 3.0 offers five months of free access to the New York Times Personal Edition, SportsLine USA and other online services. Microsoft's package includes the Wall Street Journal's online edition and ESPNET SportsZone.
Netscape Senior Vice President Mike Homer said that Netscape felt compelled to respond to Microsoft's promotional moves.
"They have a lot of money and a bigger megaphone. We are doing our marketing with a more head-to-head comparison so people will understand the differences," he said.
Each company's newest browser does a better job than previous versions in supporting multimedia content--Navigator 3.0, for instance, transports live audio and video--and each company's browser allows telephone calls via the Internet.
But Internet Explorer is free.
Netscape Navigator 3.0 is free for a 90-day trial and then costs $49.95 for a license to use it. Users in educational or nonprofit organizations can continue to use it free.
Navigator 3.0's content delivery feature, called Netscape Inbox Direct, allows users to register with various participating content providers on the Internet, telling them their interests. Those content providers will then deliver daily news, music or whatever the user specified into an Inbox feature on their Navigator program.
"With Netscape Inbox Direct, users don't need to spend time finding interesting sites and fetching their daily news from many different sources," Homer said.