Microsoft steps closer to the Net

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MICROSOFT is taking another step toward shifting its Windows technology from the personal computer to the Internet. The software giant is lagging in some of the key sectors that have emerged in recent years with the growth of the Internet, and has signalled over the past year that is changing its focus. It is planning to create ways for software developers to pull technology off its MSN website to build e-commerce and websites.

Meanwhile 3Com, the US maker of networking equipment, announced that it would spin off its Palm Computing subsidiary, which makes the Palm Pilot handheld computer. It said it plans an initial public offering early next year. The rest of the shares would go to exisitng 3Com shareholders.