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Review of the Week, April 7-11

This was the week that Internet Explorer 4.0 went public, the soi-disant Platform Preview - don't call it a beta - popping up on Microsoft's Web site just a couple of days after it appeared all over the world, thanks to an accidental test posting over the weekend.

This was the week that Internet Explorer 4.0 went public, the soi-disant Platform Preview - don't call it a beta - popping up on Microsoft's Web site just a couple of days after it appeared all over the world, thanks to an accidental test posting over the weekend. This means it will be at least a couple of weeks before you hear reports about the precise date for the next release. Probably.

Microsoft went shopping again, paying $425m for WebTV Networks. Big bucks for a small fry but it's pretty clear that the tousle-haired billionaire has his heart set on buying his way into digital TV, a feeling confirmed when Microsoft joined Intel and Compaq in presenting a spec for receiving interactive TV broadcasts on PCs and other devices.

Without wishing to push the nautical metaphor too far, Compaq's PC ship has been unassailable thus far but it has run aground on the rocky shore that is mobile computing. The dreadnought attempted a return to calmer waters with the Armada notebook line. But will it keep the same name in Spain?

What's the hottest stock on the hi-tech market? How about AMD? While the crazy valuations of the big names and Internet fly-by-nights collapse and semi-comatose financial analysts brush off their 'tech is dreck' mantra for a new generation of suckers, Jerry Sanders' boys are on a roll. With K6 sales to come, the Californian firm said this week it is back in profit.

Non-news of the week was the will they, won't they courtship of AOL and CompuServe. These days it's traditional to get it over with quickly and leave a huge wad of money behind but the onliners are taking it slowly and getting to know each other one step at a time. Yawn.

Speaking of the springtime when IT companies' thoughts turning to a spot of M&A, Compaq has bought Microcom. Modems get sold through the same channels as PCs so how come such a natch match hasn't come up before?