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Spyglass develops browser for Microsoft

Spyglass complements a string of licensing successes by releasing a version for embedded devices running Windows CE.

Spyglass complemented a recent string of licensing successes by releasing a version of its Web browser for limited-purpose devices running Microsoft's Windows CE operating system.

By making its Device Mosaic Web browser compatible with the Microsoft's OS for "embedded devices," the Naperville, Illinois-based software company hopes to attract the business of firms that manufacture handheld devices, office equipment, and industrial control systems. Spyglass not only licenses its browser source code for inclusion right into an embedded device's application, but also provides engineering services, such as designing user interfaces.

Currently, such services provide over half of Spyglass's revenues, according to Doug Colbeth, the company's president and chief executive.

But Spyglass will not be the exclusive browser technology of Windows CE.

"We think Windows CE is going to be extremely successful in various types of devices, so obviously we think it's important to our position," Colbeth said. "They [Microsoft] looked at all these different device types and said 'We'd rather have partners develop the browser technology" than do it themselves, he observed.

The Spyglass code features a small yet customizable "footprint," according to the company, so it can easily be included in such space-conscious devices as a retail kiosk or a cell phone. It can be used as a standalone browser or as the base of other applications, such as email.

Spyglass won't be developing browser technology for Microsoft's WebTV platform, however. The company actually competes against Microsoft, in a sense, because it recently licensed its technology to companies such as Motorola, Nokia and PowerTV for use in cable and satellite set-top boxes.

"As the whole information appliance market explodes, I doubt Microsoft will be able to control every platform and device," Colbeth said.

The company will also offer its server-based Prism technology for use with Windows CE. Prism customizes Web content for display on devices such as smart cell phones or other products with small screens.