Just as I was dozing off, I remembered two things.
Now consider what would happen to the GIF format if PNG had been fully supported under Internet Explorer 4, 5, 5.5 and 6. GIF would be dead because any web designer knows the advantage, and innovative possibilities with full 8 bit transparency at their disposal. GIF would be dead, but if Unisys and MSFT are working together, MSFT has to consider the needs of their business partner, and use its monopoly power to keep the PNG format relegated to the almost-ran-technology-bin so that lucrative GIF liscences can continue to be sold by Unisys.
In my opinion, that's an abuse of monopoly power and stifles innovation. Is any of this true? Does MSFT conspire to keep the PNG format in a crippled support state? I don't know. you be the judge.
ps, Posts about PNG support in the Mac version of IE will be ignored, because the market share of that browser has ZERO effect on the point I am making. 90% of the browsing market needs to have full PNG support before the format becomes fully adoptable by the web development community. That 90% mark could have been reached by now if IE version 4 thru 6 for PC fully supported the format.