Feeds

AOL rekindles browser battle

Uses Gecko in CompuServe 7.0

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

AOL Time Warner Inc took a first step in a potential rekindling of the browser wars of the late 1990s yesterday, confirming officially that CompuServe 7.0 is shipping with Netscape Gecko as its browser, replacing Internet Explorer.

Some three million people subscribe to CompuServe, AOL's brand for more experienced internet users, not enough to make a significant dent in Microsoft Corp's browser market share. But the strategic move could indicate AOL is ready to take the battle back to Microsoft, possibly by incorporating Gecko in future versions of its flagship America Online service.

Until last year, AOL was obliged to use IE as its default browser, under a long-term deal with Microsoft that predated its acquisition of Netscape. In exchange, AOL got icons on the default Windows desktop and carried on Windows installation CDs. This deal fell apart reportedly because Microsoft was unwilling to carry software from RealNetworks Inc, a rival in the streaming media space that makes software used in AOL.

Gecko is an open-source layout engine that is used for rendering HTML and other web standards at the heart of browsers. The guiding principle behind the software's development is compliance to industry standards, without the proprietary extensions of IE or previous versions of Netscape.

For web developers this is a good thing and a bad thing. Standards compliance is good, as long as there are enough people using these standards to make writing to them worthwhile. However, IE's massive percentage of market penetration, in the high 80s, means whatever IE supports is virtually a de facto standard. Developers think IE before Netscape.

For AOL and Microsoft, the possible emergence of another scrap over browser software will not only have marketplace implications, but could effect the outcome of various lawsuit's Microsoft is facing.

AOL sued Microsoft earlier this year for burying Netscape during the browser wars, an act which sparked the antitrust trial that is currently in the remedial phase. Microsoft could argue AOL's considerable market power, ownership of Netscape, and willingness to propagate the software, means the 'second browser' is still a competitive factor.

©ComputerWire.com.All rights reserved.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
Shades of Mannesmann: Vodafone should buy T-Mobile US
Biting the bullet would let Blighty-based biz flip the bird at AT&T
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.