Feeds

AOL rekindles browser battle

Uses Gecko in CompuServe 7.0

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.