Netscape to Ship on New HP Computers

AOL subsidiary Netscape has signed the first non-IE browser distribution deal with a major PC manufacturer since the late 90s. Starting early next year, Hewlett-Packard will ship Netscape 8 on all new PCs and laptops, with customized tabs leading to HP and Compaq Web destinations.

However, Internet Explorer will remain an option for HP customers. During initial setup, an option will be presented to select Netscape as the system's default browser. Icons to launch Netscape will be placed on the Windows desktop and Start Menu.

"Netscape 8.0 was designed to give consumers a choice, and we are delighted that consumers who buy new HP and Compaq consumer PCs will be able to choose the Netscape browser for a safer and highly compatible browsing experience," said Jeremy Liew, General Manager of Netscape.

HP emphasized Netscape's security as a factor behind the deal. Netscape includes advanced privacy settings and anti-phishing features alongside tabbed browsing and an integrated RSS reader.

The agreement could also be seen as a big win for Mozilla and its open source Firefox Web browser on which Netscape 8 is based. Firefox has enjoyed immense popularity since its 1.0 debut last year, but adoption by mainstream consumers has slowed. Such a bundling deal could help the upstart browser regain its foothold against IE.

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