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Netscape Adds Free E-mail Service

Netscape Communications Corp. partnered with USA.NET this week to offer users a free e-mail service through Netscape's Netcenter portal site.

This latest move by Netscape is viewed as another bid by the company to remain a major "front door" player with rivals such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL, and Excite.

As reported in InternetNews.com's Internet Stock Report today, many of these competing sites are playing "copy cat" in an effort to become the leading portal for Internet users.

Netscape's free e-mail offering enters the game at a late stage, however, and as noted in ISR, a product called EMURL from Seattle Lab allows any Web site to add the free e-mail feature.

Like similar services, the new "Netscape WebMail by USA.NET" will offer Internet users a free, Web-based e-mail account accessible from any computer with Net access. It is scheduled to become available during Netscape's third quarter which ends July 31, 1998.

Netscape said WebMail by USA.NET will also be integrated into its client software via a button on the Netscape Communicator personal toolbar.

The service will feature synchronization of address books, message search capabilities, global vacation auto-responses, filtering options, virus scanning, foreign language translation, integrated message forwarding to e-mail, fax and pager, mail collection from multiple e-mail accounts, and POP3 mailboxes for offline management with Netscape Messenger.

"The combination of USA.NET's leading, feature-rich, Web-based email with Netscape's client software and highly successful Netcenter service and content from its In-Box Direct program enables it to offer users free email accessible from anywhere in the world," said Mike Homer, executive vice president and general manager of Netscape's Web site division.

"Netcenter WebMail by USA.NET is a key addition to the Netscape Netcenter online service as we transform the site into the leading destination site on the Net for business and consumers."

This is the second major deal struck by Colorado-based USA.NET in recent weeks. The company announced on April 15 that it would be working with American Express to deliver its newly unveiled free e-mail service, AmExMail.

In related news, Netscape also announced today a "membership milestone" for Netcenter, claiming 4.3 million members for the service since its launch seven months ago.



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