Mixed reviews for Netscape 6.0

Analysts like the final beta version, but some users say it's not worth it

Good and bad news for Netscape 6. Analysts think the browser is a winner, but some users aren't that impressed.

Analyst Lydia Loizides of Jupiter Communications liked the look of the third, and final, beta version of Netscape 6, made available for free download Wednesday. The absolute final version of the Netscape 6.0 will be released by year's end.

"They really cleaned it and streamlined the look," Loizides said.

The look of the browser, with its lighter shading and 3D buttons, was one of the major revamps from the second beta version, said Netscape spokesman Catherine Corre.

While many of the changes were on the browser's look, the new browser also now features a print button. It also can now synchronise Netscape 6 address book with Netscape.com web address book, Corre said.

Jupiter's Loizides said she had concerns after seeing the first two beta versions of Netscape 6, which was a "real divergence".

"We had some concerns about that, but this is a more appealing Navigator," she said.

Netscape has also added more bells and whistles to Netscape.com, including more content from CNN and other Time Warner properties. Netscape's parent company, America Online, and Time Warner are in the process of merging.

"They are really trying to use a lot more positioning for the Time Warner content," said Tom Wolzien, an AOL analyst for Berstein & Associates. "This is the first place we'll see evidence of the proprietary content."

But in the newsgroups, the early reviews aren't quite as rosy.

David Deva, an Orlando, US-based web developer, pronounced the new browser "slow and clunky".

Software developer M Merritt, meanwhile, called it "too little, too late".

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