Explorer gains in browser wars


There is bad news both for Netscape and sites that require registration in the Irish Internet Association's third survey of Internet usage. It finds that Microsoft is romping home in the browser war, with 70 per cent of respondents now using Internet Explorer. On sites which demand registration, 34 per cent of users admit to frequently giving false or misleading information on registration screens, with a further 29 per cent doing this occasionally. The survey, published last Friday, also found that 36 per cent of respondents had purchased online in the last year, and of these, 87 per cent said they were happy with the experience and would purchase online again. It also highlights slow access as the biggest problem confronting Net users and suggests that most people continue to expect information online for free. - info: www.iia.ie

Net Alliance: The Alliance for the Internet in Europe, formed to raise awareness of the role of the Internet, has had its first meeting. Issues discussed included the development of the European Internet market, its governance and how to establish a measurement mechanism to ensure a standard quality of service across Europe.

Sun Shines: A US District Court judge has ruled that Sun Microsystems is likely to triumph in its licensing case against Microsoft and granted Sun's request for a preliminary injunction. The court ordered that if Microsoft ships products that include Java technology, it must change those products within 90 days to address their failure to pass Sun's compatibility tests.

Stamping It Out: Trips to the post office will become an even more distant memory after America Online announced plans to offer its US-based members online postage and digital stamps. Users will be able to buy and print stamps, recognised by the US Postal Service, from the Web or from programs.

Extra Banking: AIB and IBM have announced a new service to deliver on-site banking for company employees. The Extranet service is aimed at larger companies and enables employees to conduct their retail banking from their PCs.

Moo TV: First there was computer dating for cows and now bulls can experience its delights too. At least their owners can. A CD, incorporating bovine video, has been published by the Progressive Genetics cattle breeding co-operative to help dairy and beef farmers when choose the best sires for their herds. - info: 01-450-2142

Speed Costs More: In addition to announcing the 33 per cent fall in the cost of phone charges for Internet access, Telecom Eireann has also unveiled plans to launch ADSL as a commercial product next year. ADSL will provide download speeds of 384 kbps and video download speeds of 4 Mbps, at a price - it will cost between £350 and £400 a month.

Clarity Calls: In his address at COMDEX/Fall '98, Bill Gates, somewhat inevitably, predicted that PC technology would continue to improve life everywhere but cautioned that the industry must tackle two key issues - increased complexity and threats to privacy. He also unveiled Microsoft's new ClearType font technology, which aims to make eBooks and LCD screens easier to read. Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0 was also launched at the conference, while Corel unveiled a preview of its latest office suite WordPerfect Office 2000, complete with Dragon Naturally Speaking, which lets users dictate directly into WordPerfect 9 at a rate of up to 160 words per minute.

Director's Cut: Director 7, with a "comprehensive set of new Internet features" is one of two major product upgrades due from Macromedia next month. The other is version 2 of its powerful Dreamweaver Web development software.- info: www.multimedia.ie.

Gathering Kernels: At Computer98 in Germany last week Amiga announced that QNX, a developer of kernels for a variety of CPUs, will be its partner in the development of the next generation Amiga which will use the QNX Neutrino.

Educating Europe: Iona Technologies has announced a middleware education initiative for Europe which allow European business managers and IT staff to assess the benefits of middleware technology to their organisations. Participants can choose from a variety of education tools ranging from local seminars and industry white paper briefings to Iona's CD-Rom.

In Brief...Esat Telecom announced that 1,000 customers have already signed up for its new residential "pay-as-you-use" Internet service, to be launched on December 1st. . . CBT Systems has signed a two-year contract with VistaTEC to deliver a computer-based training programme to over half of the latter's employees. . . Hewlett-Packard Ireland has reported that profits from its sales and service department was up 26 per cent on last year to £73m. . . A new Irish software company, Pastel Financial Systems, has signed a deal with South African based Pastel Software for the rights to distribute accounting software in Ireland. . . Cendant is to sell its consumer software division to Paris-based Havas for approximately $1 billion. . .