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Microsoft, Excite in streaming deal

The duo will offer a version of Windows Media Player for Excite's community pages, making it easier for Webmasters to post audio and video clips.

Excite signed an agreement with Microsoft to provide a version of the software giant's Windows Media Player for its community pages, making it easier for Excite community Webmasters to post audio and video clips.

The announcement closely follows yesterday's debut of a test version of Windows Media Technologies 4.0 software, which will allow Internet users to download music files for replay. Windows Media Technologies is Microsoft's answer to the popular MP3 (MPEG 1, Audio Layer3) format, albeit with a bow to copyright protection.

The tie-up also extends the duo's cooperation in customizing Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5 browser. One of IE 5's biggest selling points is the ability to let sites alter the browser's look or add content references, and such leading portals as AltaVista, Excite, and Lycos have been quick to offer their own versions.

Microsoft's streaming media software will be available on Excite within 90 days, the portal said. Windows Media Technology will be available as a plug-in to its Windows Media Player.