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CompuServe hires MS for heavy lifting

Microsoft is expected to supply technology to CompuServe as it moves to the Internet.

CompuServe is hoping to speed its move to the Web by hiring Microsoft as extra help.

The two companies have signed a deal to help convert the online service's content to the Web through Microsoft's server software, code-named Normandy, which combines the company's NT operating system and the Internet Information Server. CompuServe, now the second-largest online service behind America Online, last month announced plans to abandon its proprietary network in favor of a Web-based service to compete with other information providers.

Microsoft's help will make the move to the Web faster, according to Bob Massey, president of CompuServe. "We decided to leave the heavy lifting to others...This cut our time to market and slashed development costs," he said.

Massey also pointed out that CompuServe will now have access to Normandy's source code to "add value" for corporate and individual customers.

The renewed online service, as well as the company's Wow service for novice users, are also moving to the Windows 95 desktop, where CompuServe will have a desktop folder of its own and a guide to help install it.

CompuServe reciprocated Microsoft's help by stressing that it will use Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the service's primary browser.

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