UK gets IE 4.0 push content

Microsoft has stolen a march on rival Netscape by revealing that UK users of Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0 will get ten UK-specific active channels built into the browser.

Microsoft has stolen a march on rival Netscape by revealing that UK users of Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0 will get ten UK-specific active channels built into the browser.

Microsoft has said that the BBC, BSkyB, the Financial Times, Virgin Net, Vogue, New Scientist, the Pointcast Network, Emap Online, LineOne and The Microsoft Network will provide the browser's active content for UK users.

Netscape is due to announce its European and UK push channels later this month while it will give some indication of its direction with a worldwide announcement next week.

Microsoft is using its push content deals to try and close the gap on Netscape by painting a picture of IE 4.0 as being more flexible and by giving users more control over content, before Netscape has the chance to reveal its push channel partners. "IE 4.0 will revolutionise the desktop as we know it, transforming it from a static application to a live and interactive, personalised information source," said Martin Gregory, Microsoft's Internet product manager.

Netscape marketing manager Sam Sethi said that it was "good" that Microsoft had launched its channels and that "it made no difference to [Netscape] because all the channels support Netcaster."

"I had to laugh when I first saw the list," added Sethi, "because it's so near to our own, but we've now got time to go out and choose stronger channels."

Netscape will have around 20 channels although details are not yet available.

"The real battle is not just channels," said Sethi. "What really matters is how many web sites provide channels and whether or not they make it easy to create push channels. We have an Add Channel Wizard, a five step guide to creating a push channel and while ours is secure, Microsoft's isn't because we know Active X is not a secure environment."