Portal Combat Comes To The Net

Why all those online heavy-hitters want to be your doorman

Microsoft Corp.'s 10 Web sites are among the biggest draws on the Internet, visited by a third of all U.S. Web surfers. Yet it's just not enough. So the software giant is whipping up a super Web site that will showcase all its online properties, from travel to car-buying to news, and include services such as free E-mail and a search engine to explore the rest of the Web. The new site, which could be ready as early as this summer, will be called "Microsoft Start"--a telling name, since the software maker is hoping all these goodies will persuade cybernauts to make it their first stop on the Net.

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