Netscape will delay the release of its Communicator 5.0 browser software, according to Web reports.

The update is reportedly being held back to add further features, such as merge email and instant messaging. The software was due for a preview release this summer.

Microsoft, Netscape’s browser rival, is also delaying the Mac version of Internet Explorer 5.0 until the end of the year (see Daily News September 9), although the PC version has been available since March.

Other new features mooted for Communicator 5.0 include its use of Extensible User Interface Language – a new way of building the user interface.

It is not known how long users will have to wait for Communicator 5.0. In the meantime, Netscape has provided an interim release of Communicator version 4.7.