“It’s an interesting move, one that I think ultimately will cost Hewlett-Packard more than it makes them,” said Gartner research Vice President Martin Reynolds. He indicated that the effort to differentiate may also alienate consumers accustomed to Internet Explorer.
Like a film that fantasizes what would happen if the other side won the war, AOL’s Netscape browser won a huge distribution deal with HP this week, putting the challenger to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer on the PC giant’s North American notebook and desktop computers beginning next year. The deal is not fiction, though, as Netscape has emerged renewed from the browser wars, riding a wave of security , stability and stigma-based defection from Internet Explorer, which is still dominant, but has seen its share of the browser market decline in recent years with the rise of Netscape, Mozilla , Opera and other alternatives.
The Netscape-HP deal will fold the browser into HP’s standard software installation, and marks the most significant win for any browser since the browser wars ended years ago.
“It’s welcome back in, the water’s fine,” Webroot Vice President Richard Stiennon told TechNewsWorld, adding that the browser bundling deal with HP gives Netscape a clear advantage over other alternative browsers going forward.