CompuServe opens up Web to competing browsers

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CompuServe, Columbus, Ohio, said it will offer its members access to World Wide Web browsers that compete with its own browser product. Users will be able to download virtually any Web browser in the industry; some will be free, others will be available for a charge.

The service, called WebCentral, will be live on CompuServe by the end of the month and on the Web during the first quarter of 1996.

CompuServe said the move was not designed to create competition for its own browser product, acquired when CompuServe bought Spry earlier this year. Still, it's an apparent recognition that proprietary browsers create confusion.

``We'll stick to our own Internet product within our service, while allowing for other options,'' said Rob Mainor, VP-product marketing and business information services.

Prodigy recently said it would offer its users Netscape's browser as an option. America Online currently offers a proprietary browser.

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