According to InfoWorld, Microsoft Corporation demoed the preview release of Internet Explorer to developers yesterday in London, England. The new product is more than a simple browser upgrade, however, and offers a Desktop environment that is transparently mixed with Web browsing.

The new environment will be available to developers in early March, according to Microsoft. The final release is due in mid-Summer as a stand- alone product. It will also be included with Memphis, the next major upgrade to Windows 95, due by the end of this year.

Internet Explorer 4.0 comes bundled with Front Pad (an HTML editor), a personal Web server, NetMeeting 2.0, and other Internet-related applications. New features include AutoComplete (which recalls previously -visited URLs as you type), SearchPane (which displays search engine results), and a new "push" technology Microsoft calls Channels. Using this method, content the user subscribes to is delivered to the desktop via these "channels." Additionally, bookmarked Web sites are now available directly from the Start menu.

"IE 4.0 integrates the Web with every aspect of the PC," said Andrew Lees, director of desktop and Internet at Microsoft U.K