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Netscape has announced that all new HP and Compaq consumer desktop and notebook PCs starting in early 2006 will be pre-installed with Netscape 8.0 browser. The move is a major blow to Microsoft.

Jeremy Liew, senior vice president, America online and GM, Netscape, said, “Netscape 8.0 was designed to give consumers a choice, and we are delighted that consumers who buy new HP and Compaq consumer PCs will be able to choose the Netscape browser for a safer and highly compatible browsing experience.”

HP and Compaq consumer PC users will be able to choose Netscape as their default browser during the computer set up process, as well as being able to start the Netscape browser through icons on the desktop and in the Start menu.

Netscape also will customise the browser for HP and Compaq PC customers with tabs that direct customers to key HP or Compaq web destinations.

Nick Labosky, director, worldwide consumer PC, beyond-the-box group, HP, said, “By including Netscape 8.0 on our PCs, HP is providing people a more secure computing experience via the browser’s cutting-edge security features and other functionality that make being online safer for our customers.”

Netscape 8.0 is based on the Firefox code base, and it automatically adjusts safety and security settings to help protect users as they explore the Web. The browser helps ensure maximum compatibility and safety by switching seamlessly between the rendering engines used by Firefox and Internet Explorer.

The Netscape Browser includes features like tabbed browsing, integrated RSS feeds, enhanced privacy settings, multiple toolbars and more.

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