A year after Pearl Harbour, MS goes for Netscape's throat

A year after Microsoft's infamous 'Pearl Harbour' attack on Netscape, Bill Gates's firm is presenting a series of initiatives that will make it an even more fearsome presence on the Internet.

The Redmond, Washington firm yesterday announced free availability of a Windows 3.1 version of Internet Explorer 3.0. In a sly dig at its arch-rival, Microsoft product manager for the Internet platform and tools division Martin Gregory said: "It's the upgrade Netscape Navigator users have been asking for."

Separately, Microsoft said yesterday it has released a beta version of the Visual InterDev Web development suite, formerly known by its Internet Studio codename. The software is downloadable now.

Finally, Microsoft today made said a second beta test version of its NetMeeting conferencing software is available now for downloading. The new release adds support for H.323 videoconferencing.

In a tit-for-tat announcement, AOL said today that it was launching version 3.0 of its service and said it had reached 100,000 UK subscribers and 300,00 in Europe. The firm also announced content partnerships with content providers including The Economist and Thomas Cook.

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