Netscape's latest browser engine technology will be included in
several vendors' internet appliances, but the move is unlikely to
reverse its decline in the browser market, according to
The AOL subsidiary said yesterday that its browser engine
technology, Gecko, would be used by IBM, Intel and Red Hat, among
others, to develop set-top boxes and internet appliances.
Netscape said the broad adoption of Gecko - the first technology
produced under the Mozilla open source programme - could lead to
fresh approaches for web developers and could more easily extend
web access to handheld devices.
However, few analysts believe that Netscape is poised to reclaim
its position as the leading browser, where Microsoft's Internet
Explorer has a significant lead.
"Netscape has lost its market lead, largely due to lost momentum
when it was subsumed into AOL," said Sarah Skinner, internet
analyst at investment house Durlacher.
Matthew Nordan, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said that
Netscape had lost the browser wars to Microsoft, and downplayed the
"Mozilla.org was expected to produce a browser a year ago, but
it's proved to be difficult to get people working on the web
developing Mozilla - unlike what has happened with Linux," said
Nordan. He added that despite this, set-top boxes would be an
important access device to the internet.
Jim Hammerly, vice president for client product developments at
Netscape, admitted that "it takes a lot to build a high-capability
browser." He said Gecko had a small footprint and cross-platform
Netscape also announced that a beta version of the delayed web
browser, Netscape 6, will be available within 25 days.
To make it easier to develop a cross-platform user interface,
Netscape has made an XML application called XUL (XML based User
interface Language) available.
According to Forrester, by 2004, 168 million people in Europe
will access the web through PC and 147 million via interactive TV.
The majority, 219 million, will access the web via Wap enabled
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