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IQ News: Bits

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-Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., last week introduced Internet Explorer 5, a customized version of the browser that includes preset links in the toolbar with access to MSN services, plus MSN Search and MSN.com as the homepage. It also has a feature which saves search results.

-Women.com Networks, San Mateo, Calif., which provides content on women's lifestyle, health and other issues, secured an anchor tenancy on America Online's Lifestyle and Women's channels.

-Today's Man, Moorestown, N.J., says it will sell menswear online in time for the 1999 holiday season. Nordstrom, Seattle, meanwhile, will add a Callaway Golf Apparel by Nordstrom "boutique" sub-site to its Web site, nordstrom.com.

-Cyberian Outpost, a Kent, Conn.-based online computer retailer, and US Pawn, Westminster, Colo., are both launching auction sites which plan to go up against eBay and similar online auction sites.

-PlanetRx.com, South San Francisco, opened for business last week to face challengers like MyBasics.com and Drugstore.com. The site sells health and beauty products--including over-the-counter and prescription drugs--and offers health-related content. Partnerships include America Online; Women.com; Yahoo!; E*Trade Group; and Netcentives' ClickRewards.

-NextPlanetOver.com, New York, will promote titles from comic book publishers Abstract Studio, Oni Press, Slave Labor Graphics and Adhesive Comics in exchange for exclusive online content, artist chats and the chance to digitize "virtual" comics.

-Mattel, El Segundo, Calif., will acquire Purple Moon, Mountain View, Calif., which develops Web sites and CD-ROMs skewed to the the pre-teen girls market; Xceed, New York, acquired Santa Monica, Calif.-based agency Troon in a stock and cash deal; Think New Ideas, New York, acquired Envision Group, a marketing-services firm based in Torrance, Calif.; and Siegel & Gale, New York, made an equity investment in Mentum, Hartford, Conn., to launch an online financial service.