MS confident of Monday post for IE 4.0 preview

Microsoft expects to hit its first quarter deadline for posting a 'public preview' version of Internet Explorer 4.0, by uploading code on Easter Monday.

"We're certainly aiming for the end of March but we reserve the right to implement a feature or make something better," said Jeremy Gittins, Internet platforms marketing manager. "It may be the end of the night on Monday but you can bet your bottom dollar our programmers will be burning the midnight oil to get it up there [on the Microsoft Web site]. Around May we will be posting a beta and we aim to ship the full product around the middle of the year."

The software will include the same bug fixes and management tools as in Internet Explorer 3.02, posted this week to the firm's Web site. However, Gittins said the version of IE 4.0 planned for Monday may not include the much-hyped 'channels' technology that will lets users receive Web sites as 'push' broadcasts to their desktops.

Separately, Gittins said Microsoft was using the term 'preview' rather than 'alpha' or 'beta' to guard against expectations of full feature sets and reliability. "This is a preview and when you get funnies [unexpected errors in code] you have to accept it. A beta is where the APIs are set for programmers."

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