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Netscape Scores Browser Deal With HP

Netscape has announced a deal with Hewlett-Packard that will put the AOL-owned Web browser on HP PCs starting early next year.

Beginning in 2006, buyers of consumer desktop and notebook PCs with the HP and Compaq labels will be able to choose Netscape 8 as the default browser during set-up, and launch the browser via icons pre-placed on the desktop and in Windows' Start menu.

"HP is pleased to offer our customers a choice with the addition of the Netscape browser to our consumer PC line up," said Nick Labosky, a director at HP. "By including Netscape 8.0 on our PCs, HP is providing people a more secure computing experience via the browser's cutting-edge security features and other functionality that make being online safer for our customers."

IE, generally the only browser pre-loaded on new PCs, has been plagued with a slew of security vulnerabilities in 2005, and is considered by some analysts to be less secure than rivals such as Mozilla's Firefox and America Online's Netscape, which uses the Firefox code for its foundation. Some of that concern has been reflected in a small shrinking of IE's market share since Firefox debuted last November, although now signs show a slowing of Mozilla's momentum.

Netscape 8.0's most distinguishing feature, however, has nothing to do with security. The browser automatically switches between the Geko rendering engine used by Firefox and the engine that powers Internet Explorer to more faithfully display pages tweaked for IE.

Netscape 8.0, which was released in May, is produced and marketed by America Online, and can be downloaded free of charge from the Netscape Web site.

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