Microsoft spokesperson Stacey Breyfogle said this week that rumors the company would offer a version of Windows 98 without Internet Explorer was false.

"The message has not changed one bit--we are offering one version only of Windows 98," she said.

Rob Enderle, an analyst for the Giga Information Group, said he was told by sources at Microsoft that they would, however, offer a version of Windows 98 without the IE desktop icon if the Justice Department forces them to. Enderle also said that Microsoft was releasing Windows 98 to manufacturing on May 15 so that it can be installed on computers in time for a June 25 release date. Microsoft has not confirmed these dates.

Enderle says that Windows 98 will sell for approximately the same price as Windows 95 does--$85-95 in stores or $45 for computer manufacturers.

The Windows 98 kickoff begins April 4 with "Microsoft eXtreme", a live event in Redmond that will be broadcast live to 45 movie theaters around the United States