Feeds

Netscape plans comeback tour with v7.0

The fallen Mighty

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

AOL Time Warner Inc's Netscape unit is about to launch a campaign aimed at attracting users and developers back to its browser software, which has been all but buried by Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer.


The company yesterday announced the release of Netscape 7.0, just a day after a research firm announced that the browser has lost all but 4% of the market to IE. A Netscape spokesperson said the company will this week start "extensive advertising across all AOL Time Warner properties."

But the campaign will stop short of marketing the browser to AOL's 34 million subscribers, all of which use a proprietary client built on top of IE. AOL has a test version of its client based on Gecko, the same rendering engine as Netscape 6 and 7, in circulation, but has not yet said if future versions of AOL will use the browser.

"AOL is committed to Gecko," the Netscape spokesperson said. "They're now using it in AOL clients for Mac OS X and on their CompuServe internet service... For the time being AOL has not decided to switch out IE for Gecko in 8.0."

Since the release of Netscape 6.0, the company has employed a 15-person team of "evangelists", engineers and web developers, whose purpose it is to push Netscape compatibility to high-traffic web sites. The top 1,700 web sites, as ranked by Media Metrix, have been approached by the evangelists and made compatible.

"They reviewed how the sites worked in a Netscape environment," the spokesperson said. "If they saw problems they worked to get them fixed." He said that when Netscape 6.0 was released in April 2000, about 60% to 70% of web sites were 100% Gecko-compatible, and now that figure is more like 97%.

However, some developers say this could be because Gecko has become more IE-compatible, using a similar implementation of the Document Object Model, for example. "Netscape 7.0 and IE6 offer largely similar support for the major web standards, such as HTML and the DOM," the Netscape spokesperson said.

According to WebSideStory Inc, which scrapes browser usage statistics from the logs of millions of web sites, IE now has a 96% market share, compared to 87% a year ago, while Netscape's share has shrunk to under 4% from 13% in the same time period. WebSideStory said: "The browser war is in fact a massacre."

"'Browser war' is a misnomer for Microsoft's anticompetitive tactics over the last couple of years," the Netscape spokesperson said in response. The company believes its share is higher than WebSideStory claims, though not much more. AOL is currently suing Microsoft over the anticompetitive tactics a court found it used to get the advantage over Netscape during the 1990s.

Netscape 7 will have additional features to increase ease-of-use, such as tabbed browsing and a search function that defaults to netscape.com's Google-based web search engine. The mail client has also had its search features revamped for speed and has had new filtering features added. AOL Instant Messenger is also included.

The company has also taken a strategy notably employed by RealNetworks Inc to get around the fact that IE, being part of Windows, launches much faster than rival applications. Netscape 7 has a "Quick Launch" feature similar to RealPlayer, in which the browser resides in memory from the launch of Windows, making launching faster.

© ComputerWire

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.