Internet search company Lycos will produce and host the Internet Explorer 4.0 Channel Guide for Microsoft, it was announced today. Lycos will also serve as the exclusive search engine for the Channel Guide, due September 30th with the final release of IE 4.0. The real surprise here is that Microsoft would simply give away such a key component of IE 4.0: No one suspected that they wouldn't do it themselves. The other surprise is that they picked Lycos, not one of the major search companies, such as Alta Vista.

"The Channel Guide really makes sense either to do entirely ourselves or with one partner. It wouldn't have made sense to offer four identical capabilities" in the Channel Guide, said Microsoft's Will Poole. "We looked for a combination of \[things\], and they won."

Poole said Microsoft looked at a number of companies before choosing Lycos.

Apparently, the deal was made earlier this summer, though it was only announced today. The Channel Guide will be updated with a Lycos look and feel by the final release of IE 4.0. Lycos, for their part, received some cash up-front from Microsoft and will likely generate revenue from other provisions in the contract over time.

"It represents a wonderful branding and traffic opportunity," said Bob Davis, president and CEO of Lycos, referring to his company's coup