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Mac OS X gets an AOL update

America Online releases a new version of its Internet access software designed for Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating system.

America Online has released a new version of its Internet access software designed for Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating system.

New features in AOL for Mac OS X include a message counter that displays the number of new e-mails and instant messages on the AOL icon in the Mac OS X Dock; support for e-mail with rich HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) features; a new search service; and a new welcome screen with one-click access to e-mail.

The software integrates Netscape Communication?s Gecko browser and supports Apple's QuickTime media player. It also supports Apple's iChat messaging program and will allow users of iChat and AOL Instant Messenger to communicate with one another.

That's something of a departure for AOL, which has been cautious about opening up AIM to other messaging systems.

AOL released a preview version of its upcoming AOL 8.0 for Windows-based operating systems last month. It's officially expected to be released in the fall.

AOL Time Warner, the parent of AOL, last week appointed former USA Interactive executive Jonathan Miller to be the new chief executive officer of the online unit.