Netscape has made new moves to make its site into the primary Web portal, taking a leaf out of Microsoft?s book by integrating products and services.
In the latest stage in the company?s Project 60 strategy to beef up its Netcenter site, 'Netcenter 2.0? has been redesigned to make it easier for users to navigate and to access the content channels. Within the portal, Netscape will offer an array of Internet services while integrating with future versions of its Communicator and Navigator browsers.
It will offer similar services already present in leading portal sites such as Yahoo and Excite like a personalised home page - 'My Netscape'. It will also include a host of content channels and a set of features under the Smart Browsing umbrella designed to make browsing more efficient. For example, users will be able to type in regular or keywords into the Navigator location bar and it will send them directly to the relevant site. It will also generate a list of links to related products, services and companies.
The personalised page will also feature integrated email allowing users to access a summary of their mailbox via a toolbar.
Netscape plans to tightly integrate its browser and portal in a bid to capitalise on the 70 million users of its software enticing them to Netcenter.
The announcement, and the whole Project 60 strategy, comes at a time when Netscape?s major rival Microsoft is caught up in antitrust cases. However, this bundling of services does lend weight to Microsoft?s argument that what users really want is to buy a complete solution.
Christopher Charron, analyst at Forrester said: ?Consumers do want a package of service and content that they can call home and explore the rest of the Internet from.?
However, as Internet users have such diverse needs analysts doubt that any one company, be it Netscape or Microsoft, will dominate it. ?Internet traffic is very diffused. We can?t expect any one solution will control the majority of the consumer mind share,? said Charron.
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