Microsoft briefly releases Internet Explorer 4.0 by accident

Late Friday night, I attempted to download the Access Upsizing tool from the Microsoft Web site but was unable to gain access to any page on the site. The reason? Well, it seems Microsoft uploaded a pre-release build of Internet Explorer 4.0--either build 1400 or 1410 according to sources-- to a beta server and inadvertently left anonymous access on. Word spread quickly, and Microsoft's servers were hammered throughout the night. By Saturday morning, Microsoft had found out about the problem and turned off anonymous access to the build, which supposedly included the latest version of Memphis (Windows 97) as well.

According to several e-mails I received this weekend from people who were able to download the program, Internet Explorer 4.0 works as advertised. Also, the public IE 4.0 newsgroup is again abuzz with rumors and speculation about the impending release. No offense to Netscape, but only Microsoft's browser releases cause this sort of excitement and anticipation: the last time that many browser fans got this rabid was in August when Internet Explorer 3.0 was released.

PC Week Labs has reviewed a pre-release copy of Internet Explorer 4.0, so if you can't get enough news about this product, you should check it out. According to PC Week, the most compelling feature of IE 4.0 is the Active Desktop, and HTML interface for the Windows shell. Also notable are the "much-improved" mail client and "small but helpful enhancements to the browser

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