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VERSION TWO: NETSCAPE'S BACK.

Netscape, which played a central role in the commercial development of the Web as an independent company and which is now a division of America Online Inc., introduced Netscape 6, a faster and easier-to-customize browser. It's the first major overhaul of the browser since Netscape became part of AOL in early 1999.

The announcement follows a federal judge's finding that Microsoft illegally used its monopoly in personal-computer operating system software to monopolize the market for Web browsers.

Netscape 6, written essentially from scratch, is the long-awaited successor to Netscape Communicator, which has seen only minor revisions since version 4.5 shipped in October 1998. Netscape 6 includes a new browsing engine, "Gecko," which is the most public result yet of Netscape's March 1998 decision to open its source code for revision by its users.

Netscape's browser dominated the market starting in late 1994 - but started losing share after Microsoft bundled its Internet Explorer browser with its Windows operating system. Microsoft also gave its browser away for free and updated it more frequently than Netscape, which now holds only 20 percent of the browser market, according to Jupiter Communications.

The competition between Microsoft and Netscape was a central issue in the recent Microsoft antitrust case; in his ruling delivered last week, US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson wrote that Microsoft's decision to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows was "the result of a deliberate and purposeful choice to quell incipient competition."

Netscape 6 also makes it easier for users to connect to AOL's popular instant-messaging chat service. And other hooks will bring Netscape users to its own Web site, where the company will ply visitors with advertisements and shopping opportunities.

Netscape.com was the sixth-most visited site on the Web in the month of February, according to the Web measurement firm Media Metrix.

AOL has also enlisted a range of partners that have agreed to use its browser in their products, including computer giants Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM Corp., cellular-phone giant Nokia Corp. and Liberate Technologies Inc., a maker of software for interactive television boxes.
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Title Annotation:Netscape 6.
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Article Type:Product Announcement
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 10, 2000
Words:344
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