Microsoft Corp is cranking up its marketing machine in advance of the launch of its new web browser Internet Explorer 4.0, on 30 September. It has signed up 13 Internet Service Providers and 50 hardware vendors to bundle the browser as standard with their internet service and products. The major ISPs to sign up are AT&T Corp’s Worldnet Inc GTE Internetworking, Earthlink Networks Inc, InternetMCI, Mindspring Enterprises Inc, NetCom Online Communications Inc and Sprint Corp. The hardware vendors, who will be bundling the browser in new machines from October 30, include Compaq Computer Corp, Dell Computer Corp, Digital Equipment Corp, Gateway 2000 Inc, Toshiba Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp. Microsoft has also being showing its internet Explorer 4.0 Administration Kit, at the Explorer 97 conference, to IT managers, which will allow them to manage and monitor desktops across a company. Netscape Communications Corp dismissed the announcements as publicity stunts, having recently launched its own Netscape-Everywhere marketing campaign, under which some 100 ISPs and telecoms companies agreed to distribute more than 100 million copies of Netscape client software to home users. The significant difference between the two is that Netscape is charging $39 for Navigator 4.02, and Microsoft is planning to distribute IE 4.0 for free.
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