Today was Microsoft's turn to launch a mortar attack at Netscape in the latest episode of the Web browser wars. The Redmond, Washington firm pushed beta 2 of Internet Explorer 3.0 into its WWW site for free downloading, saying the new version is faster and has an integral just-in-time Java compiler, plus support for plug-ins and more than 1,000 ActiveX Controls.
A major addition is support for the ActiveMovie multimedia API that competes with Apple's QuickTime and supports playback of MPEG video and audio, as well as DirectX acceleration. More ActiveMovie information is at : Microsoft's Web site.
Other notable features include HTML Layout Control enabling coordinate control over object layout, layering and transparency; the ability to format E-mail in HTML; better sound quality and utilities in the NetMeeting workgroup collaboration application; more security, including support for standard firewalls; the ability to put frequently visited sites on the Quick Links toolbar; and the inclusion of a VRML add-In to accelerate viewing of 3D graphics.
Continuing to chant the ActiveX mantra, Microsoft says two sites already support the technology: InvestorsEdge and Candidate 96.
The beta 2 release can be downloaded from here now.