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By Published on .

Microsoft corp. bets it will snare a majority of the Web browser market within two years, sweeping past Netscape Communications Corp.

Microsoft will spend an estimated $10 million through yearend on a print and Web campaign pushing Internet Explorer 4.0, being introduced Sept. 30.


"We have a strong enough product, we have enough momentum, we have enough support from partners that we will go above 50%" in the one- to two-year product lifecycle of IE 4.0, said Brad Chase, VP-applications and Internet client group.

Mr. Chase and analysts now put IE's share at about 30%. That's up from the less than 10% Microsoft claimed in August 1996 when it launched IE 3.0. Microsoft gives away IE and has deals with the top 10 Internet service providers to make it the default browser. Netscape charges for its Netscape Communicator and Navigator browser products, though the browser is free through ISPs and can be downloaded for no-cost "evaluation" from Netscape's site.

Microsoft did its first major browser push-an estimated $5 million print and Web campaign-with IE 3.0, its first browser competitive with Netscape. Microsoft now raises the stakes with IE 4.0, central to its strategy to restage the company around the Internet.


Ads, running on the Web and in consumer titles, including Time and Sports Illustrated, as well as business and computer publications, carry the theme, "The Web the way you want it." Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., handled print; Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco, did the Web effort.

The campaign plays off features in IE 4.0 allowing users to pick "channels" linked to sites, to download sites for off-line reading and other features.

"The most important part of the product marketing mix in the software industry is the product," said Mr. Chase, architect of Microsoft's 1995 Windows 95 launch. "If you've got a bad product, you can't do well, it doesn't matter how much you invest in your marketing. If you have a good product and you do good marketing on top of it, you have the potential for a big winner. We have a

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