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  1. Technology
August 19, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Last year, Microsoft Corp’s pitch for cyberspace hegemony was the Microsoft Network button on Windows95. That one did not work, so this time around, it is backing ActiveX to turn the world of the Web into a Windows-only world. Our sister publication Online Reporter points out that, although some people have realized that ActiveX rather kills the liberating write-once, use-anywhere delight of Java, since ActiveX controls will have to be recompiled for each alien (non-Windows) system on which they are to run, no-one seems to have highlighted the parallel restriction for Web site operators. Each Web site will have to keep multiple copies of each ActiveX component – one for each make of browser that might pay a visit. An ActiveX object is a Common Object Model object, even if there is a lot of Java at the heart, and it will need to be recompiled to match the Common Object Model implementation in the non-Windows browser. At that point, one can see an army of lazy people saying to hell with it, we’re only going to support Internet Explorer. Microsoft plans to get Explorer 3.0 preloaded on all the personal computers that come with Windows95 before the end of the year, so as cartoonist Gary Trudeau had Mike Doonesbury say at the time of the Windows95 extravaganza on August 24 last year, Why don’t we just give Bill Gates all the money now and get it over with? Meantime, Microsoft is supposed to set a time and place for its ActiveX summit this week. It was planning on having it August 27 but the job of organizing got out of hand and it pushed it back a month, according to COM/ DOM staffer Charlie Kindel. The meeting is supposed to put ActiveX into a standards body, either existing or purpose-built.

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