PC makers may already be enjoying the effects of the Department of Justice's lawsuit against Microsoft, with both Gateway and NEC choosing alternatives to exclusively bundling Microsoft's Internet Explorer with their PCs.
Gateway strayed from the software giant's product path in two ways this week. Now, when users open up the Internet connection on a new Gateway PC, they will be directed to Gateway's own Internet service rather than going directly to Microsoft's service.
In addition, users will be able to choose their browser, as both will be bundled on Gateway PCs running Windows 98.
"Netscape is the preferred browser for corporate intranets," said one Gateway official. "So how else are these people going to get it?"
Meanwhile, NEC has entirely rejected the practice of pre-loading a browser. The company will offer both Explorer and Navigator on a CD bundled with systems rather than loading any browser onto the hard drive.
Other system providers aren't ready to stray from the Microsoft fold. Dell Computer offers Internet Explorer as its default browser, and charges an extra fee for installation of the Netscape Navigator browser, even though Netscape Navigator is a free product.
When asked whether it would offer a level playing field for the two browsers, one Dell official said, "We can't speculate on what we will do down the road."