The browser wars aren't over yet. This week Netscape releases
the second beta of Netscape 6 for download. There will be at least
one more beta before a final version slated for this fall. This is
a critical time for Netscape given that Microsoft's Internet
Explorer has overtaken the once-dominant Netscape browser to gain
the lion's share of the market,
Netscape, now a division of America Online, has a lot riding on
the success of Version 6, a radically reworked version of the
pioneering Internet browser. The overhauled browser is based on the
company's open source "Gecko" engine, and is smaller, faster and
more customizable than previous versions.
"I don't want to be in a browser war," says Netscape General
Manager Jim Martin in an interview with siliconvalley.internet.com.
Martin concedes that even with recent Federal anti-trust rulings
against Microsoft, Netscape faces an uphill struggle to unseat
"Its more difficult for us, because were not shipped on every
machine that goes out with Windows (like Internet Explorer is),"
says Martin. "But were certainly hoping to change that. Were
working very closely with several OEMs to get Netscape on more
Among the new features in Netscape 6 are "My Sidebar," a
customizable list of onscreen tabs that link users to their
favorite Web information sources. CNN, eBay, CNET and NYTIMES.COM
have developed tabs for My Sidebar. Other Web sites can make their
content available to My Sidebar users by simply adding a "click
here if you wish to put our content in your Netscape 6 Sidebar link
in their site.
Netscape 6 also features "Themes" which let consumers
personalize the look and feel of the browser.
BEYOND THE DESKTOP
Longer term, Martin says the "real" battle is "well beyond the
desktop" to Internet-capable devices where he believes the small
code base of Gecko will be a distinct advantage for Netscape. "My
suspicion is that over time you will see a lot of companies adopt
the Gecko engine because its very small, easy to work with, its
open source so it's free and they can do a lot of cool things with
it," says Martin. "The desktop is only one tiny piece of the
While its technology and brand name make Netscape a legitimate
contender for Internet appliances, some analysts are skeptical it
can make extend into the mobile/wireless space.
"Frankly, I cannot see what Netscape would bring to the party in
terms of value-add," says Tim Scannell, an analyst with Mountain
View-based Mobile Insights. "These are already a flurry of WAP
content providers out there that can adapt content to virtually any
device, as well as companies like AgentGo.com that take it a step
further to add agent technology and eventually location-based
AOL has announced an agreement with Gateway which plans to
deliver a series of devices (a countertop appliance, wireless Web
pad, and desktop appliance) all powered by Gecko and the Linux
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.