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MSN Explorer - a "new" browser

 12:53 am on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

Just started hearing some rumbles about MSN Explorer [explorer.msn.com], which seems to be Microsoft's gesture toward an AOL-style browser - something aimed completely at the newbie and non-techie.

I'm imagining a browser designed by the same team that gave us the animated paperclip in our Office applications.

MSN Explorer has been available since October, and I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with it to date. With the free download weighing in at over 22MB, I'm not quite ready to play unless (until?) it starts showing up in my server logs. I don't imagine this baby has a very small footprint.



 1:20 am on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

I fired it up at my old job on my work machine. It's a real jellybean looking thing and integrates MSN Messenger and a bunch of other stuff. Very Aol'ish. It also has a left side nav bar as well which takes away from screen real estate (at least the version I was using) Didn't use it long enough to analyze it much more. It was annoying as anything. Give me my good ol IE 5.5 or NS 4.x any day.


 1:47 am on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

They try to push it on you if you use them as ISP, but - no POP3 or SMTP mail - multiple accounts (instead of their generous 1) but - it's hotmail. I declined. Even netzero gives regular normal email, with Eudora light.


 3:31 am on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

>> They try to push it on you if you use them as ISP, but - no POP3 or SMTP mail

I remember a short, painful period in '96 when I was with MSN -- their mail system drove me crazy. So, they're still at it, eh?

What I've been hearing is that, long-term, Micrsoft is considering marketing MSN Explorer as the "everyman" browser and also releasing something called "NetDocs" (a sort of Office with total net integration) for people who have more demanding web needs. Where MSIE might fit into this picture is anyone's guess, I'd say.

I'm concerned that both NetDocs and MSN Explorer may give us the heebie jeebies in the relatively near future. As I understand it, this would be like having 3 Microsoft browsers instead of 1. Just feels like more arrogance out of Redmond.


 12:39 pm on Jan 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>>Just feels like more arrogance out of Redmond.

Or just another way to capture more of the market.



 8:10 am on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

The rumor is that many inside MS want to discontinue IE as a separate product. MSN Explorer would be the interface for the Personal Edition of Windows, while NetDocs would be standard on the more expensive packages.

NetDocs is apparently part of the new .NET initiative, which seems to be a random assortment of new MS technologies, not all of which seem to have any obvious connection to networks.

The next few months could be very interesting in the browser world.


 10:43 am on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

>marketing MSN Explorer as the "everyman"

Supposedly it's "ease of use" is their way of vying for AOL users. Frankly, from what I've heard of some the problems AOL users have, it seems a lot more complicated to me than "normal" ISPs.

>discontinue IE as a separate product. MSN Explorer would be the interface for the Personal Edition of Windows

That would send me straight to Opera and Netscape, and to another ISP, in a New York minute.

In view of the fact that currently, use of MSN Explorer eliminates using pop3 and smtp mail for their ISP subscribers, I'm not sure what that would mean. It would seem to be irrelevant, since you can download email without a browser open, but you must use Hotmail instead if you switch to the new Explorer.

gmiller, any rumor on when this change is projected to take place?


 11:10 am on Jan 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

I've heard that the first sign will be the beta release of Whistler, Redmond's code name for the latest and greatest Windows version. Probably March or so.


 2:56 am on Jan 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

The further MS "dumbs down" their products to make them accessible for "everyone", the harder they get for a knowledgable person to use. They're user-friendly-ing and software-integrating themselves out of the experienced computer user market.

I thank god my boss chose NT as his flavor of Windows for the office... At least NT gives users credit for having something resembling a brain. The NT box I'm forced to use is almost as configurable as my Mac.

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