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MSNBC cuts the wait

In keeping with MSNBC's plan to make its site more accessible, the company announces a joint venture with FreeLoader that will allow users to browse the site offline.

In keeping with MSNBC's plan to make its site more accessible to viewers, the company announced a joint venture today with FreeLoader that will allow users to browse the site offline.

The pact allows users to download custom data from the MSNBC site to be read later on their computers. Users can then decide when they want updated news content from MSNBC to be delivered.

Incorporating the news service offline means that users can get the information without waiting for browser software to retrieve graphics and multimedia content.

"This is one of many things that we're doing over the next few months to make it easier for people to access and consume the great work we're doing," said Peter Neupert, Microsoft's vice president in charge of MSNBC.

Neupert envisions users bringing their laptops on airplanes or trains, where they can settle down and check out the site at their leisure, without having to wait for graphics files to load. He added that MSNBC, a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC that operates a cable news station corresponding to its multimedia Web site, will also provide offline email delivery soon.

MSNBC's news service will be delivered to users with a custom version of the Freeloader software integrated into the MSNBC Web site. The new version is expected to be available this fall at the same time Freeloader releases version 2.0 of its software.

In addition, MSNBC will be offered as a "channel" in the new version of FreeLoader, which delivers Web and screensaver products to consumers. FreeLoader's flagship product is a free, advertiser-supported application that allows users to download content offline.

Freeloader is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Individual, the Burlington, Massachusetts-based customized news company.