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Microsoft gets jump on server

Two days before announcing its Internet strategy at Internet World, Microsoft releases its Internet Information Server 3.0 as a free download for Windows NT 4.0 users.

Two days before announcing its Internet strategy at the Internet World conference in New York, Microsoft (MSFT) has released its Internet Information Server 3.0 as a free download for Windows NT 4.0 users.

The IIS 3.0 Web server is part of the company's Active Server strategy that will put a spate of server-side tools, including the proprietary ActiveX component technology such as Microsoft Transaction Server, also announced today, at the disposal of Web site builders. IIS 3.0 will include Index Server 1.1 for online searches, NetShow for multimedia streaming over IP networks, FrontPage 97, and a Java Virtual Machine.

Microsoft is expected to lay out further how IIS and Active Server fit into its overall product strategy at an Internet World press conference on Thursday.

The Redmondians have tightly integrated IIS 3.0 with the NT operating system, which has brought complaints of anticompetitive practices from Netscape Communications. Netscape's Enterprise and FastTrack Web servers are Microsoft's main targets.

Microsoft has lined up some third-party support for the new IIS iteration and its Active Platform strategy, but so far no industry heavyweights have stood up, perhaps due to Microsoft's release of an alpha version of the next-generation IIS, code-named K2, to developers last month. A company official at the time acknowledged the risk of losing momentum for 3.0 by prepping developers for the future version.

Wall Data (WALL) will support IIS 3.0 with its Arpeggio Live Information Publishing Server software that publishes IBM mainframe, AS/400, or ODBC-compliant data or applications to the Internet or company intranet.

Other companies announcing support today for IIS 3.0 include Tumbleweed Posta, Beverly Hills Software, ILX Systems, and Chili!Soft.

The NetShow streaming capability built into IIS 3.0 also received support from various software makers including Macromedia, Vxtreme, and Vivo Software, all of which will build NetShow compatibility into upcoming versions of their multimedia streaming products.