An AOL representative said that the new software will be based on Mozilla 1.7 code developed by Netscape's open-source offshoot. She described it as a relatively minor upgrade that will include a few security patches, but leave the interface mostly unchanged. "This is not a huge step forward," she said.
Netscape 7.2 comes amid speculation that AOL had all but ceased working on the browser followingaffecting some 500 developers in California, including most of the . AOL shifted some programming jobs to other offices within the company, including a in Bangalore, India.
The layoffs followed the resolution of an antitrust suit brought by Netscape parent Time Warner against Microsoft, and a seven-year contract to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser in its AOL service, among other things.
AOL bought Netscape in awhen it closed in March 1999. But the Internet service provider struggled to integrate the unit, and ultimately failed to shore up its business against the encroachments of Microsoft. Internet Explorer is currently used by more than 90 percent of Web surfers, according to site visitor statistics published by Google.
Netscape's most recent upgrade came last July, adding support for domain names written in non-English languages and a spam filter built on Bayesian analysis of incoming mail.