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Microsoft Watch: A slip and a rip

When Microsoft distributed a press release announcing the debut of the beta version of its MSN Search service, it apparently provided a screenshot of the service displayed on the Mozilla Foundation's highly touted open source browser and competitor to Micrcosoft’s dominant Internet Explorer—Firefox 1.0.

An Israeli Web site, NRG Maariv, noted that a review of MSN Search in The Seattle Post Intelligencer newspaper included the screenshot, which carried the photo credit "(AP Photo/HO/Microsoft)," meaning that Microsoft sent the photo to the AP.

Microsoft denied it had approved or distributed a screenshot using a Firefox browser, which, assuming it's true, would lead one to believe that someone erred, or exercised a bit of skullduggery. Microsoft then told NRG Maariv it would not comment further.

To make matters worse for Microsoft, the Post Intelligencer reviewer said he would stick with Google, panning MSN Search as "generally disappointing."

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