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Security review stalls Explorer

Better late--and secure--than never. That's Microsoft's new attitude toward Internet Explorer 4.0.

Better late--and secure--than never.

Microsoft (MSFT) is pushing back the public beta test of Internet Explorer 4.0 again. Most recently, the "platform preview release" of Internet Explorer 4.0 was due out by the end of the month. Today, officials said it would be about two weeks before the preview code sees the light of day.

According to Dave Fester, lead product manager for the browser, Microsoft delayed the public beta testing of Explorer 4.0 to complete a "sweeping review" for potential security holes. Microsoft postponed the preview release of Explorer 4.0 once before so that it could search for holes like the ones founds in Explorer 3.0 throughout March.

Today, a company spokeswoman said the security review took longer than expected.

Explorer 4.0 has been delayed several times before, though security concerns were not the cause. The browser is a radical overhaul of Explorer 3.0 that will blend browsing the Web and scanning a PC hard disk into one experience.

Microsoft began showing the browser publicly more than a year ago and originally hoped to release a beta version last October. But the company decided to postpone the release of the browser so that it could add Dynamic HTML, a technology that promises to make Web pages more interactive.

Limited groups of developers have been privately testing Explorer 4.0 since last year, but Microsoft has never released a public version. Although the public beta date for Explorer 4.0 has slipped, Microsoft still maintains that it will release the final version by midyear.