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Microsoft bags another ISP

Microsoft says the count for ISPs that support its Explorer browser tops 2,000.

Microsoft today nabbed the support of a small Phoenix-based Internet service provider, GetNet International, in its latest attempt to increase market share for Internet Explorer.

Microsoft has already signed deals with national services as well, including Netcom, America Online, and CompuServe, promising to bundle access to those services into future versions of Windows.

Microsoft said last week that the company has signed distribution deals with more than 2,000 ISPs for Internet Explorer, though not all of them will make it their default browser. Company officials declined to say how many ISPs would do so.

GetNet said it was lured by the price tag of Microsoft's browser: $0.

"If we were to distribute Netscape, it would cost us $35 apiece," said John Higginbotham, a technical support official at GetNet.

Last week, at a briefing on its Web browser at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft acknowledged that Internet Explorer was still lagging behind Netscape Communications' Navigator, which holds a browser market share estimated as high as 85 percent. To narrow the popularity gap between the two browsers, Microsoft said it is pursuing distribution deals with ISPs big and small to make Internet Explorer the default software users receive when they sign up for service.

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