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Microsoft Corp has signed a deal with Intuit Inc’s to make the latter’s Quicken Financial Network the premier financial active channel on Microsoft’s forthcoming Internet Explorer 4.0. And in what Intuit claims is an unrelated deal has decided to stop bundling Netscape Communications Corp’s browser and go exclusively with Internet Explorer in its Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax products. The QuickenFN agreement will provide financial news, tools and information piped straight onto the IE desktop. The channel will use Dynamic HTML and is compliant with Microsoft’s push standard, Channel Definition Format. Intuit says the deal is to increase the users of its QuickenFN, a consumer marketed service, which is paid for by advertising rather than subscription. Intuit recently invested $40m for a 19% stake in search engine company Excite Inc and the inclusion of a Quicken Financial channel in Excite. The next version of Quicken will have imbedded IE 3.0 included, and is due in October. Versions of TurboTax and Quickbooks will have IE 4.0 embedded at the end of the year. The history between Microsoft and Intuit is chequered. Microsoft’s attempted $2bn acquisition of Intuit in 1994 was blocked by a US Justice Department anti-trust lawsuit (CI No 2,669). Then Microsoft launched the Microsoft Money home finance tool, which Intuit claims only has 2m users compared with 10m for its Quicken. It claims that it is competing with Microsoft on one level, and co-operating on another.

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