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CNET News.com: Why did Microsoft keep browser feature from partners?

Aug 02, 1999, 01:04 (20 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Beth Lipton)

"Several developers say the software giant removed a key feature from browser code that it shares with third-party developers but kept the feature in its own version of the browser. ... The 'forms-autocomplete' feature in Internet Explorer 5.0, released in April, stores usernames, passwords, and any other information a user regularly enters into online forms so that when the user returns to a site, he or she does not have to remember all the data.

A Microsoft spokesperson said that... the issue is being corrected for the 5.01 version of the browser, expected to be shipped to developers 'before the year is out.' "

"...the removal gives Microsoft a competitive advantage, because many users say it is a deciding factor in determining which browser to download.

Some developers say Microsoft is concerned that the custom versions of its browser could dilute the IE brand."

" 'This is troublesome to us,' Drew Cohen, chief executive of NeoPlanet, said in an interview. 'Microsoft wasn't supposed to put code in the [operating system] layer that they weren't offering to third parties.' "

Adam Stiles, chief executive of NetCaptor, said the other developers he is in touch with 'were all incredibly angry that this feature was taken out. We all just flipped when this happened,' he added. Regarding the time frame for the fix, Stiles said: 'Ouch, that's a long time to wait.' ... He added that Microsoft "has released a number of patches to IE 5--one within days of the initial release. The fix could have been included at that time.' "

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