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Netscape strikes back at Microsoft with new version of Web browser

Sketch October 22, 1998
Web posted at: 12:42 a.m. EDT (0042 GMT)

From Correspondent Ann Kellan

(CNN) -- When Microsoft wove its Web browser, Internet Explorer, into its Windows 98 operating system, rival Netscape cried foul, as did the U.S. Justice Department.

CNNfn: Barksdale on the hot seat

The Justice Department fought back by filing an antitrust suit that went to court this week. Now, the people at Netscape are fighting back with the newest version of their Web browser, Netscape Communicator 4.5

CNN's Anne Kellan reports on the browser wars
Windows Media 28K 56K

"They're delighted to see Microsoft in the hot seat. As far as the new version, I think it's better than Internet Explorer," says Atlanta Journal-Constitution technology editor Bill Husted. "So yes, I think they're getting even, even maybe pushing ahead."

If computer users load Windows 98 on their computer, odds are good that they'll end up trying Microsoft's Web browser. But if they also load the new Netscape browser, the playing field may change.

That's because, unless users manually change their settings, Netscape's browser automatically becomes the default browser for their machine. Other Internet software will link to the Internet through the default browser.

While Husted says the new Netscape browser is a little faster than Internet Explorer, "it's almost like the difference between a Chevrolet and a Ford."

"There's not a great difference in the two products. It's more being familiar with one and you tend to stay with the one you've used," he says.

Husted complains that the latest browser offerings from both Netscape and Microsoft are big and bulky, loaded with superfluous new features. Indeed, Netscape Communicator 4.5 can take an hour to install.

"Most of us just want to cruise the dang Web," he says.

And ironically, as the competition rages on between the two browser giants, Husted is singing the praises of yet another browser, Opera. It takes up half as much computer memory space and runs twice as fast.

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