The latest Netscape browser, released last week, has been accused by Microsoft of breaking Internet Explorer, making some webpages invisible and disabling things like RSS.

A Microsoft engineer has asked people to uninstall the rival browser or delete the relevant registry file. Netscape 8 disables the XML rendering capabilities in Explorer, senior program manager Dave Massy claimed in a blog.

"If you navigate in IE to an XML file such as an RSS feed... rather than seeing the data you are presented with a blank page," he wrote. He has offered two work-arounds: uninstall Netscape 8, or deleting the XML node within the Explorer plug-ins registry. Digging around in a registry is not exactly what sysadmins will want their users to be doing however.

AOL doesn't seem particularly bothered by the revelation. "This issue effects a very small number of users who visit sites that require that advanced technology," said a spokesman.

The company will produce a fix next week, it said, through Netscape's auto-update feature. "We would not encourage people to uninstall or effect their browser settings," it said. "It's a minor issue."

While AOL execs will no doubt be secretly relishing their mistake, it doesn't bode well for the browser, which also had to immediately put out a security patch just hours after its grand launch. It fixed more than 40 holes.

Netscape 8.0 combines many of the features of both IE and the open-source Firefox browser, and has been promoted as a secure and easy to use product. However critics have suggested instead that it combines the security vulnerabilities of both browsers.