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2,000 firms license IE 4

Microsoft says more than 2,000 corporations have licensed the Internet Explorer 4.0 administration kit.

Less than two weeks after reporting 1 million Internet Explorer 4.0 downloads from its Web site, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that more than 2,000 corporations have licensed the browser's administration kit.

Sixty percent of those licenses were granted to first-time corporate IE 4.0 customers, according to the software giant.

The new IE 4.0 licenses, which will bring the Microsoft browser to a total of 1.6 million corporate desktops, do not include the 20 major companies that Microsoft announced are standardizing on IE 4.0. Those companies include Compaq Computer, Columbia/HCA Healthcare, Countrywide Home Loans, Dell Computer, Deloitte & Touche, General Mills, Merrill Lynch, Monsanto, Reynolds Metals, Nabisco, Sprint PCS, Dow Chemical, and Toyota Motor Sales USA.

The browser, released October 1 after five months of beta testing, is Microsoft's attempt to make the browser wars irrelevant. By building IE 4.0 into Windows, Microsoft hopes to make the browser just another utility that comes with the operating system. That integration won't truly happen until Microsoft ships Windows 98 next year, but the release of IE 4.0 for Windows 95 is a major step in that direction.

Microsoft currently holds about 30 percent of the overall browser market and claims that IE 4.0 will push it over the 50 percent mark. As a result, Netscape Communications (NSCP) has launched a campaign called "Netscape Everywhere" to defend its market stronghold, which researchers say hovers around 70 percent.

Consulting firm Zona Research released figures last week showing that Netscape's Navigator browser is used by 62 percent of 279 corporations interviewed, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer is used by 36 percent.