Microsoft unveils new Mac browser and Web site

Microsoft Corp. is celebrating the two-year anniversary of its Macintosh business unit at Macworld Expo by unveiling a new browser, e-mail software, and Web site tailored to Apple users.

The new Internet Explorer 4.5 for the Mac will allow users to install it by dragging and dropping an icon, a feature already contained in Office 98 for the Mac. Microsoft also is promising several features not available in IE for Windows.

The new IE 4.5 will include:

  • Page Holder, which displays a site's links on a panel on the side of a page, allowing users to surf a site without using the back button.

  • Form AutoFill, which lets users automatically complete online forms by clicking a button that transfers stored information -- such as a shipping address -- onto a Web page.

  • Print features that format Web pages for easier printing.

  • More integration with the Mac OS 8.5 Sherlock search engine.

With the new features, Microsoft Corp. is hoping to appease Mac users, who have long complained that the company comes out with new Windows-based applications long before it considers the Mac platform. It has plans to fill out its IE offerings for the Mac with a new release later in the summer.

Microsoft is also introducing Outlook Express 4.5 for the Mac. The e-mail software will let users view messages from multiple e-mail accounts in one screen and send messages without coding so that lines aren't broken in odd places. Outlook also will code the body of a message with different colours so viewers can differentiate among the original message and the replies to it. In deference to the Mac community, the program also will automatically encode attachments so Mac and Windows readers will be able to read them.

In addition, the company is unveiling its first site devoted to a firm other than Microsoft. At Microsoft.com/mac, Mac users will find Microsoft-generated information about its Apple products as well as chat rooms, columns and links to other Mac sites.

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