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MSNBC's BROWSER RAISES SOME BROWS

MICROSOFT AND NETSCAPE may be battling to win the browser war, but not on MSNBC. Oddly, the new cable service, a Microsoft-NBC partnership, is giving Netscape free prime-time publicity for its computer program that is used to browse the World Wide Web. MSNBC's hour-long show The Site, airing every weeknight, prominently uses Netscape Navigator.

The prime-time show, produced by MSNBC and Ziff-Davis Publishing, chronicles new technology and visits Web sites. When it cruises the Web, your TV screen in effect becomes a PC screen. Netscape's striking ``N'' logo is in the top-right corner. The show does use Microsoft Explorer occasionally.

At Netscape, the MSNBC exposure evokes joking thanks for the endorsement. MSNBC won't admit why it prefers Navigator, although spokeswoman Lauren Leff quips the choice demonstrates that the show is ``editorially independent.'' She says neither Microsoft nor Netscape advertises on the show. Microsoft's Mark Murray says his company ``is not going to dictate'' the show's software choice. A consolation: MSNBC is thus far seen only in 35% of the country, so The Site's viewership isn't large.

EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT By Andrew Ross Sorkin


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Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.
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