The row between Netscape and Microsoft reached new heights last week when Microsoft attempted to capture the browser market by recruiting three major UK service providers to bundle Internet Explorer 3.
But the row over browsers could be immaterial as US vendors are already discussing bundling deals for Microsoft's Explorer version 4.
BT, UUNet Pipex and Demon agreed to bundle Explorer 3 with their services, but that prompted Netscape to up the ante by releasing its latest browser earlier this month.
Both include text browsing facilities from within the product, but neither has incorporated the joint Visa/Access deal supposed to be embedded in the browsers this autumn.
David Barrett, corporate communications head at UUNet Pipex, said: 'We have taken a commercial decision. There are many people who think Microsoft is the evil empire, but we don't make judgements like that. It is the tussle between Microsoft and Netscape that has made both of them get their act together.'
Microsoft, like Netscape, was caught between the wants of users and its distributors. Yet UUNet Pipex, only four per cent owned by Microsoft, was not frightened by competition from BT or Demon.
'BT has its fingers in so many pies it can't do a thing. Telephone companies are scared of Internet providers because they've changed the paradigm,' said Barrett.
Nashville, Explorer version 4, will be merged with NT 5 later this year.
But Jim Clark, chairman of Netscape, will not take it lying down. Galileo, Netscape version 4, will have groupware features pitched against Exchange and Notes. Orion, the server suite, will offer a virtual operating system that uses around 20Kb of Ram.
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