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Microsoft seeking IE 5 evangelist

It could be that the only way to get details on the next version of Internet Explorer is to be its chief cheerleader.

Want to find out about the upcoming Internet Explorer 5.0 browser from Microsoft? Perhaps your best bet is to get a job in Redmond.

The company is mum about the details of the next version of its browser and only grudgingly admits that its working title is "IE 5." But Microsoft needs an "evangelist" for the software, according to its online job listings.

"IE 5.0 Evangelist: Primary responsibilities include defining and driving Microsoft's strategic vision of Internet Explorer enabling ICPs and ISPs [Internet content and service providers] to create and host world-class applications."

An "evangelist," in high-tech speak, is a high-profile promoter of a specific product or platform. Apple Computer Fellow Guy Kawasaki was one of the first evangelists, making constant promotion of Apple and its various technologies his raison d'etre.

Other requirements for the IE 5.0 evangelist post include "familiarity with Active X, Active Server Pages, and [dynamic] HTML. Presentation and communication skills at the CEO/CIO level required. Knowledge of Internet-related technical issues preferred."

Microsoft executives declined to comment on the job posting. In fact, they have declined all comment on IE 5.0, saying only that the company is still shaping the future of the browser platform. Executives have dismissed published reports on IE 5.0 details as "rumors."

It may be too early to comment on the details of IE 5.0, but the new browser is in use at least within Microsoft. Several Webmasters have reported that browsers tagged as "MSIE 5.0" are visiting their sites. So far, those browsers are coming only from the microsoft.com domain.