Browser war continues as Netscape regroups

Feb. 8, 1998


As predicted by a number of industry observers, Netscape Communications -- the company behind the popular Navigator and Communicator World Wide Web browser software -- is scrambling to keep ahead of its competitor, Microsoft Corp.

Netscape's commanding dominance in the Web browser market has eroded rapidly as Microsoft has turned up the heat with its competiting Web browser, Internet Explorer.

Netscape's latest quarterly financial reports show how badly it's doing in its struggle with Microsoft. It reported its first loss since going public and recently laid off 400 employees.

In the browser war, reports from Japan may be an indication of what's in store for Netscape in the U.S.

In Japan, Microsoft's Internet Explorer reportedly took the lead in market share in December, a Reuters story reported last week.

Dataquest, a market research firm, reported that Internet Explorer's market share hit 53 percent in Japan. All figures were based on access logs from major Web sites in Japan.

Netscape's stock -- once floating near $80 but now down below $20 -- surged after rumors circulated that company officials were interested in selling the company.

Company officials acknowledged it was in talks with other companies over its struggle to stay ahead of Microsoft, but didn't address specifics.

Among the companies seen as potential buyers of Netscape included Oracle, America Online, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.

HOT OFF THE PRESS. If you've been keeping up with the controversy surrounding President Bill Clinton over his alleged relationship with a White House intern, you've probably heard of the Drudge Report.

This little Web site has been repeatedly criticized by White House spokesman Mark McCurry, especially after the site received credit for being the first to break the intern story.

Overall, journalist Matt Drudge's Web site has been on the receiving end of more verbal barbs from White House officials than Saddam Hussein, including being part of some "right wing conspiracy."

Drudge's information is often referred to (usually by White House officials) as inaccurate. From where I sit, Drudge's reports seem to hit pretty close to the mark.

Judge for yourself with a visit to The Drudge Report at

CABIN FEVER RELIEF. There's no denying how difficult it can be to keep kids from being bored during times when the weather conditions force schools to cancel classes.

Sure, sledding and snowball fights are fun, but if once the novelty of being cold and damp wears off, staying inside the house becomes a very attractive option.

If you're home with the kids, you might want to help them beat cabin fever by taking them on a trip to the official Where's Waldo? Web site at

The Web site has plenty to keep young visitors entertained.

Besides a section detailing Where's Waldo books and promoting the newest release, the site features a number of online games for browsers equipped with the popular Shockwave plug-in.

Microsoft Internet Explorer CD-ROMs usually have the plug-in; if you don't have it, there's a link on the site to take you directly a download site.

Don't want to wait for the games to load to play them online? You can also download the same games for play later offline, right there on your computer (for my money, this is the best way to go, since my 5-year-old is dyed-in-the-wool Waldo fan).

You can also add "a touch of Waldo" to your PC. The site offers Waldo-themed icons, and for Windows 95, there's even a desktop theme available.

You can also download and print some of those great "Where's Waldo" pictures that your youngster can color.

WEATHER WATCH. The week's snows took nearly everyone by surprise, but there are some sources I recommend for finding up-to-the-minute weather information.

-- Nearly every cable TV system worth its road salt carries the Weather Channel; their Web site is an equally popular stop on the Internet.

If you're a regular visitor to The News-Enterprise Online Web site, you can visit the Weather Channel's Web site by clicking on "Weather" link on the home page.

Visit The News-Enterprise's site at

You can also type in their easy-to-remember URL:

-- An alternate source for weather data is the National Weather Service's Louisville office at

There you'll find weather forecasts for the state, radar and satellite data, and lots of other information and links to other weather-related sites.

My favorite is the ability to select county-specific weather data -- a service provided by the University of Kentucky Agricultural Weather Center.

In addition to the normal weather bulletins, you'll find the full weather almanac, historical facts and a complete climate summary.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to, or visit on the World Wide Web.

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