Spyglass deal to boost MS appliance capability?
Small but perfectly-formed Spyglass helps Redmond out. Again.
Here we go again? Back in the run-up to the Windows 95 launch Microsoft realised its browser development was going nowhere fast and licensed Mosaic from Spyglass as the basis for what would become Internet Explorer. Now Microsoft is paying $20 million to Spyglass over three years in order to develop CE products. But what kind of products? Since leaving the desktop browser wars to other parties Spyglass has been busy elsewhere, with slimmed-down software for set-top boxes and low resource appliances. One might hazard a guess that Microsoft, which has been trying to develop appliance-type devices using CE, may have decided it has a footprint problem, and is calling in the rescue squad again. Under the deal Spyglass is to set up a technology centre in Silicon Valley to help device manufacturers implement CE, and will also license technology to Microsoft. To get an idea of what kind of devices this will cover, check out a technology demonstration Spyglass and Lucent mounted last December. This was of a concept product that sported a phone browser combining telephony, speech recognition and text-to-speech technology. It was intended to allow users to navigate the Web using a phone handset, and to work with Spyglass' Prism server-based content delivery platform. This extracts and repackages Web content into a format suitable for phones and similar footprint devices. So actually the Spyglass-MS deal could cover server technology as well. Aha... ®