Microsoft's browser play

Brian Countryman, IE program manager, said in a May 7 Web Chat posted to Microsoft's Web site that the software maker is phasing out standalone versions of its Web browser.

Since then, Microsoft has struggled to reconcile Countryman's remarks with promises that current users of the standalone version of IE will be provided with upgrades. Countryman did not return calls. A Microsoft representative pressed for clarification of Countryman's comments acknowledged that the company did not, in fact, know what it was going to do.

"We don't know what's happening," said the representative. "There are a lot of different options, and it's too early to talk about any of them...Nothing has been decided yet."

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