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AOL 5.0 for Mac coming by "end of winter"

Months after releasing an updated version of its online service for PC users, the company says it will launch a version of AOL 5.0 for Macintosh users.

Months after releasing an updated version of its online service for PC users, America Online today said it will launch a version of AOL 5.0 for Macintosh users.

The announcement coincides with today's Macworld conference in San Francisco, where AOL previewed the software. AOL 5.0 has been available to AOL's PC users since October 1999.

The Mactinosh version of AOL 5.0 will be released by the "end of winter 2000," or sometime between February and March, according to Marta Grutka, an AOL spokeswoman. Grutka added that the delay between the PC and Mac versions was due to different "marketing schedules and development cycles" involving the two operating systems.

The online giant's roots are in Apple; it used to be an online service solely for Macintosh and Apple II users. Two million of AOL's current 20 million members are Macintosh users, Grutka said.

"Since 1989 when AOL began as an online service exclusively for Mac and Apple II computer users, AOL has continued to develop versions of its software that will best serve its ever-growing Mac membership base," Jon Sacks, general manager of AOL Interactive Services, said in a statement. "As the largest ISP serving the Macintosh audience today, we're delighted to offer Mac users the new features available in AOL 5.0."

AOL 5.0 for Macintosh will include the service's recent additions, including personalization feature "My Places," online photo service "You've Got Pictures," "My Calendar," and the recently developed search engine "My Search." Other bells and whistles such as 24-hour deleted email retrieval and email signatures also are included.