Who needs a Navigator when you can be an Explorer?

Richard Barry says the new Web browser from Microsoft is likely to blast Netscape deep into cyberspace

If Netscape thought that it was going to get away with being the top Internet browser company for more than a single year, it's got another think coming.

Bill Gates and his Internet- obsessed team in Seattle are preparing to launch version 3.0 of the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE3.0), which will without a doubt clobber Netscape's current Navigator 3.0 into the ground.

Strong words? Not so: at a workshop held in Seattle last week, Microsoft devoted two full days to evangelising its latest wares to journalists from around the globe. Internet Explorer (currently in version 2.0) has always struggled to be taken seriously in a market that has warmly embraced the underdogs at Netscape. But Version IE3.0, which is officially launched on 13 August, represents a determined effort from the Microsoft team to dominate yet another area of computing and will ensure that its own technologies are adopted as standards for the industry as a whole.

One of the technologies in Explorer 3.0, called ActiveX, which is similar to Netscape's Plug-In strategy, attempts to speed up the way people use multimedia over the Internet: Currently, if you are using the Netscape Navigator and you want to have a Web page play video or sound etc, you must have the appropriate Plug-In loaded. If you don't, you have to locate the Plug-In, download it, quit Navigator and then restart it to watch the multimedia element. But ActiveX does all the rag's work for you and you don't have to quit what you are doing.

For the end user, ActiveX means a simpler life is less than two weeks away and Microsoft is so confident that Explorer is "gonna be a hit" that Bill Gates predicts it will capture 40 per cent of the browser market very soon after its launch.

Netscape's Navigator holds 75 per cent of the market and until now it has been well deserved. But Explorer is a slicker, more robust, more capable browser than anything currently available.

To bolster his claims, Gates cited his new found buddies at AOL, Compuserve and AT&T who will use the new browser as part of their own online services.

These companies have snubbed Netscape and are integrating IE3.0 into their products to make navigating the Internet easier.

As if to rub salt into the Netscape wounds, Microsoft is also launching a conferencing product with IE3.0 called NetMeeting, which allows users to share documents, transfer files and have live conferences over the Internet either through text or by voice.

NetMeeting is a separate application that will be a boon to corporates who need to work on documents with colleagues in other countries - or in other rooms. It will also be an extremely cheap way to communicate with loved ones or friends who live in other countries as the call will only be charged at a local rate.

But Microsoft isn't content with just hammering Netscape - at the end of the two-day conference, the company that is pioneering "a new way of communication" revealed plans for its next browser - version 4.0, which will be an integral part of the next version of Windows.

The fourth version of the Internet Explorer will actually replace the Windows Explorer (file manager) so that navigating through your hard drive or the Internet is exactly the same process and doesn't involve launching separate programs. So enthused is Microsoft with its even newer new browser that you won't even have to launch programs like Word or Excel to edit documents. Simply type the document name in the browser and you can edit from inside IE4.0.

As if that weren't enough, John Ludwig, Microsoft's vice president of the Internet platform and tools division, said the company was working on version 5.0 of Explorer for release sometime in 1997. Ludwig would not say any more on the product, other than that there are 80 developers working on it - rumours that it pays the rent, makes dinner and walks the dog have yet to be confirmed.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before