By Tom Ponzo, Online Editor
With a pair of feature-rich browsers readily available, you've got to wonder why anyone would use a less
sophisticated application. Apparently, the two largest online services have asked that question. Both
CompuServe Information Service (CIS) and America Online (AOL) are abandoning their proprietary
browsers and incorporating Internet Explorer (IE).
Until recently, the two services' proprietary browsers lacked many features the sophisticated surfer
expects. For example, neither supported HTML 3.0 or Netscape and IE extensions. And Java, you say?
But those days are over. By the time you read this, CompuServe and the interface for the company's new
family-oriented WOW service should have already integrated IE 3.0. AOL 3.0, which debuted this
summer, offers some HTML 3.0 support within its proprietary browser. And AOL will replace its
proprietary browser with IE 3.0 when that debuts this fall. AOL will also provide Navigator to users who
prefer that over the Microsoft offering.
If you're not thrilled with Internet Explorer, you can still have it your way online. AOL and CIS both have
interface software that works with Windows Sockets (WinSock), which means you can use any other
browser you like instead.