Exclusive: Netscape 6.1 beta released

Download the beta of the latest version of Netscape's browser software exclusively from ZDNet

AOL Time Warner's Netscape Communications has released it upgrade to the latest version of its Web browser, a move that comes as it seeks to bolster other parts of its business in the face of evaporating market share.

You can download the new Netscape 6.1 beta here at ZDNet UK's downloads channel.

This new iteration is the first since Netscape released Version 6.01, a minor upgrade of Version 6.

That release, the product of a massive, 32-month engineering project that harnessed the Mozilla open-source programming effort, was roundly criticised for its lateness, lack of stability and preponderance of bugs.

The new release comes just as reports have circulated that Netscape is de-emphasising its involvement in the browser business.

Last week, Reuters quoted Netscape President Jim Bankoff as saying that "six months from now, you won't consider Netscape to be a browser company." The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Netscape was "stripped of responsibility for creating its namesake browser".

A representative at the AOL Time Warner unit said the company has no plans to abandon its browser but does plan to expand into other businesses. "Netscape has evolved from more than just a browser company to also become a provider of a range of tools and services including Web mail, search, IM, calendar, Netscape radio, and a host of others," Netscape representative Catherine Corre wrote in an instant message interview.

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