America Online has made a new step towards the deterioration of its
relationship with Microsoft, announcing publicly the launching of
the CompuServe 7.0 service, using an pre-installed Netscape browser.
The AOL service will continue to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but
will also give a shot to the competing Netscape product. The initiative
can only bring more tension to the AOL - Microsoft already fragile relationship.
In the past years, the two companies collaborated on the basis of a "quid-pro-quo"
arrangement, allowing AOL to use IE as browser, while Microsoft uses the
AOL service in its Windows operating system. The arrangement was cancelled
last summer and the companies returned to "enemy positions".
Although the AOL officials said the decision was determined by the consumers'
response, analysts believe more reasons are involved, still to be seen
in the near future.