AOL Releases Netscape Browser Update

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-08-17 Print this article Print

The first upgrade in a year to the once-market-leading Web browser, Netscape 7.2 is built on the same code and Gecko rendering engine as Mozilla's latest browser suite.

America Online Inc. on Tuesday opened the curtain on its update to the Netscape Web browser. Netscape 7.2 became available for download from the Netscape site. As previously reported, AOL had planned to unveil its first browser update in a year by the middle of this month. The update counters speculation that AOL was stopping releases of new Netscape browser versions, following its decision in July 2003 to spin out the Mozilla open-source browser development group that it had created five years earlier.
Mozilla is now an independent foundation, but its development work served as the core of the Netscape update. Netscape 7.2 is built on the same code and Gecko rendering engine as Mozillas latest browser suite, Version 1.7.
AOL officials first confirmed in May that the company was working on a Netscape update, but they said little about whether the move was an effort to more aggressively revive the Netscape browser or to simply maintain it. But in later interviews, officials indicated that the new version was a maintenance release, bringing it in line with the security fixes, performance improvements and new features included in Mozilla. Among the new features are password manager improvements, improved junk-mail filters and support for vCards. Netscape 7.2 is available for the Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. Netscape in the late 1990s fought a pitched market battle with Microsoft Corp.s Internet Explorer. IE eventually became the dominant browser, now holding about a 95 percent market share. AOL, of Dulles, Va., acquired the browser as part of its purchase of Netscape Communications Corp. in 1999. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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