MS faces more fire over IE distribution

Netscape has won a battle in the increasingly bitter dispute over Microsoft's Internet business practices. A report in today's Wall Street Journal says the US Department of Justice will investigate the way the Washington,US-based company has distributed its Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser.

Netscape has won a battle in the increasingly bitter dispute over Microsoft's Internet business practices. A report in today's Wall Street Journal says the US Department of Justice will investigate the way the Washington,US-based company has distributed its Internet Explorer (IE) Web browser.

Last month, dominant browser vendor Netscape wrote to the DOJ, alleging that Microsoft had unfairly gained a march by threats and unfair incentives that helped it bundle IE on top-selling PC makes. Today's story claims that the DOJ is now spreading its investigation of Microsoft into the areas covered by Netscape.

Netscape hasn't been alone in zero-ing in on Microsoft's Internet strategy. IT publisher and Web software developer O'Reilly & Associates has issued a series of attacks on Microsoft's Net practices, particularly with relevance to its policy of restricting the use of NT Workstation as a Web server. An article published recently said there were only cosmetic differences between NT Workstation and the much more expensive NT Server.

The article's author, Andrew Schulman, followed up this week by criticising Microsoft's response to his piece and claiming that what Microsoft called "significant differences" are "the sort of changes that users have traditionally made in files such as CONFIG.SYS or SYSTEM.INI". The revised article is at O'Reilly's Web site. Schulman also said this week that NT Workstations's Peer Web Services (PWS) is identical to NT Server's IIS. "If PWS is installed on an NTS system, it comes up as IIS," Schulman said. "If IIS is installed on an NTW system, it comes up as PWB."

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