Microsoft makes Web move official, adds to browser lineup

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Microsoft Corp. made Microsoft Network's move to the Web official, putting free news content on the Internet while also giving Web users a cut-rate deal to access subscription-only content.

MSN News, a continually updated news feed, is available at Microsoft's ad-supported Web site . "We are focused on delivering made-for-the-medium content," said Laura Jennings, MSN's recently named VP. "MSN News is the first in a series of many exciting media properties to come."

Windows 95 users who have Internet access will be able to subscribe to MSN for $6.95 a month starting in mid-May. Microsoft will offer a one-year deal for $39.95 through Aug. 31.

Microsoft still will offer MSN with dial-in Internet access for $49.95 a year, including three hours of access a month; $19.95 a month, including 20 hours of use; and $4.95 a month, with three free hours. Microsoft Network is 80% owned by Microsoft and 20% by Tele-Communications Inc.

Microsoft also on Tuesday introduced a Web browser for Windows 3.1, rounding out the software seller's line so it can wage its browser battle against Netscape Communications Corp. Microsoft introduced Internet Explorer for Windows 95 last August and recently introduced a version for Apple Macintosh. It's now offering Internet Explorer version 2.0 for Windows 3.1, the world's most widely used computer operating system.

In contrast to rival Netscape, Microsoft gives its browsers away with no conditions, a strategy to build market share and create interest for Microsoft's other Internet products. Microsoft introduced a basic version Tuesday, with two enhanced versions set for the end of May. The browser is available at http://www.microsoft.com/ie/.

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