Graphics-friendly Internet Explorer 5.0 out by year end

Microsoft is working on a graphics-friendly version of its Internet Explorer browser which it hopes to ship by the end of 1998, according to sources close to the company.

The upgrade, now in alpha testing, is being dubbed Internet Explorer 5.0, although it may have a different name come shipment.

The new product will support the vector graphics file format, which is easier to deploy and has far smaller file sizes than bit-mapped graphics. It will allow the users to render an image in any size or resolution they want.

Corporate users may benefit IE 5.0's 3D technology, acquired from Dimension X, for CAD/CAM rendering, desktop conferencing, and other graphics-oriented enterprise applications.

The new browser will also include Intel's Web graphics compression technology, QuickWeb, and will incorporate support for FTP uploads over TCP/IP networks, sources say. Netscape Navigator already supports FTP uploading and downloading.

Microsoft, which is not yet prepared to discuss openly any details of the product, has not indicated when it will become a beta release.

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