NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Microsoft archrival Netscape on Wednesday releases a preview version of Netscape 6, the latest version of its Internet browser to connect millions of Web surfers, promising an array of new bells and whistles.|
The preview of Version 6 will be officially launched by parent company America Online's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Steve Case at Internet World, an industry trade show in Los Angeles. The browser will be available for free download on Netscape's Netcenter Web site later Wednesday.
America Online (AOL: Research, Estimates), the biggest Internet service provider with 23 million users, acquired Netscape in November 1998 for $4.2 billion. (AOL agreed in January to merge with Time Warner, parent of CNNfn)
Netscape, once the Internet's leading browser, has been battling Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) and its Explorer browser for market share. Late last year, the data research firm WebSideStory said that Microsoft Explorer accounted for 75 percent of all browsers used on the Internet, while Netscape Navigator accounted for just 24.7 percent.
Netscape has accused Microsoft of strong-arming computer vendors into selling PCs bundled with Explorer -- an accusation that helped lead to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling Monday that Microsoft violated the Sherman Antitrust Act in attempting to "monopolize the Web browser market."
A new feature of Netscape 6, My Sidebar, will let users keep open online features and information from content providers including the New York Times, CNN, CNET and eBay (EBAY: Research, Estimates).
Meanwhile, PC maker Gateway (GTW: Research, Estimates) unveiled three new AOL-Gateway products, including a countertop device, a Web pad providing wireless connectivity to the countertop device, and a desktop appliance.
Separately, Reuters reported that Galaxy Internet Services, a Newton, Mass.-based Internet service provider, is suing AOL, charging that its AOL 5.0 software blocks its subscribers from using other Internet service providers.
In trading Wednesday, AOL edged up 3/8 to 63-1/2.