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Spyglass, Sony in set-top deal

Spyglass announces that the electronics firm will feature its embedded Web browser and other software in upcoming TV set-top boxes.

Spyglass announced today that Sony will feature its embedded Web browser and other software in upcoming TV set-top boxes from the consumer electronics giant.

Spyglass, which developed Mosaic, one of the first Web browsers, has shifted its focus to the device market in the last few years. Spyglass' embedded browsers and software allow users to access Internet and graphics content on single-purpose Internet appliances.

Announcing the deal with Sony, Spyglass cited recent research from International Data Corporation which found that the worldwide market for these appliances will grow to 55.7 million units in 2002.

"Sony leads the way in the technical convergence of audio, video, computing, and communications," said Randy Littleson, Spyglass vice president and general manager, in a statement. "Their expertise in digital consumer electronics and powerful retail brand complement our power to provide quality Internet solutions to the world's leading device manufacturers."

The company seems to be gaining momentum in this space, recently signing a major deal with Microsoft, as well as with set-top box manufacturerGeneral Instrument, service provider Comcast, Motorola, and Philips. Under the terms of the deal with Microsoft, Spyglass will develop and integrate Internet applications for Microsoft Windows CE set-top boxes. The company recently purchased privately-held Navitel, which develops Windows CE software for Internet phones.

Today's deal will put Spyglass' Device Mosaic embedded browser and ThinGUI Library on Sony set-top boxes and other broadband information appliances from the consumer electronics company, Spyglass said.

In 1997, Spyglass became embroiled in a dispute with Microsoft over whether or not Microsoft was keeping up with royalty payments due to Spyglass for technology used in the Internet Explorer browser. The issue was later settled when Microsoft offered a lump sum payment to Spyglass for its technology.