AOL Communicator Threatens Netscape
Sources say there is a movement within AOL to replace the Netscape broswer with AOL's new Communicator.AOL this month debuted in beta form a stand-alone e-mail client bundled with a new version of AOL Instant Messenger and an address book, a package collectively dubbed AOL Communicator. Code-named Photon, Communicator has been in development for close to two years, although AOL has made no decisions on how to market the product. But sources say a faction of the company is pushing for Communicator to succeed Netscape, which has all but disappeared from users screens. AOL began work on Photon after the release of Netscape 6 in November 2000 was met with harsh criticism. Netscape 6 was based on slow and unstable beta builds of Mozilla, the open-source Web browser, and developers within AOL wished to make the mail and IM clients more appealing to experienced users.
Communicator utilizes the Gecko engine and XUL user interface language found in Mozilla, but it was developed entirely in-house and is not open source, according to AOL.