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AOL to Launch Discount "Netscape" Internet Service 358

BigJimSlade writes "AOL is planning to launch a discounted internet service. The service will have less of the 'extras' that AOL users are used to, but will only cost $9.95 a month. In a move to cash-in on name recognition, AOL will be naming this service 'Netscape'."
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AOL to Launch Discount "Netscape" Internet Service

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  • Busy signals? No problem, I'm not alone, there are 10 Million other people also waiting to log on.
    • Busy signals? No problem, I'm not alone, there are 10 Million other people also waiting to log on.

      You know, I'd imagine that's a failed advertising slogan waiting to happen.

      "Can't get online? Don't worry! You aren't alone!"
  • Good move. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @02:34PM (#7211583) Homepage Journal

    Ma & Pa Kettle don't need 150Kb+ incoming for their P2P apps. They want to log in to the InterWeb and check their email for pics of their grandkids. If this doesn't get them loads of new users I'll be very suprised.
    • Re:Good move. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TrippTDF ( 513419 ) <> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @02:37PM (#7211658)
      It depends on how well they market it... I know a surprising number of people over 60 who pay their $20 a month to use email to look at their grandkids and not much else. It's really all that a lot of people can handle, or want to.

      Now, if AOL can really, really make this look appealing and EASY, it might work. But a lot of those grannies had a hard enough time learning outlook, let alone trying to switch their service to save some money.

      I just don't see it working... too little, too late.
    • they were already getting ma & pa kettle.

      in fact, wasn't that their problem? that once the ma & pa learn't enough they wanted to use some other more sophisticated service instead of the aol internet that came with their post.

      there's already (in almost any western country) dozens of 'free dialup'(you pay whatever it costs to use the phone lines) providers around, so how are they going to compete with that? by not giving 'premium' services that are largely useless after you learn that internet isn't
    • While you are correct that Ma & Pa don't need the bandwidth you are incorrect in thinking this will bring them new customers.

      What this might do is fill a niche for users who are comfortable using 3rd party software and looking for a cheaper alternative to AOL.

      In my experience (and I have been an aol customer for over 10 years, I have my reasons) the reason people like AOL is because of the ease of use. With earthlink et al you still need to configure a mail client and fiddle with a browser. You'd be
    • The service will have less of the 'extras' that AOL users are used to

      The service will not offer you three credit cards every time you log in, and you wont get disconnected every fifteen minutes!

  • Get on the Netscape (Score:2, Interesting)

    by _Splat ( 22170 )
    Great, now we'll have even more clueless people who want to "Get on Netscape" while referring to connecting to the internet.
    • well wont that be one for the tech support to have fun over. Just wait and microsoft will come out with a cheaper version with out all the features, which they will call Internet Explorer.
  • by ERJ ( 600451 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @02:34PM (#7211592)
    More like confuse the hell out of the average person...

    Customer Support: Our web site supports IE4+ and Netscape 6+
    Customer: You need a specific ISP?
    Customer Support: Huh?
  • I thought the Mozilla foundation now owns the "Netscape" trademark. Am I wrong?
    • Re:But... (Score:3, Funny)

      by 1010011010 ( 53039 )

      I'm wondering if the browser includedd in the "Netscape" client software will be "Internet Explorer." That would be a tragedy.
      • Re:But... (Score:2, Informative)

        by danielsfca2 ( 696792 )
        > If...the "Netscape" client software will be "Internet Explorer." That would be a tragedy.

        No, that would be irony.
      • Re:But... (Score:2, Informative)

        by btox ( 67624 )
        There won't be client software the same way there is with AOL. There will be a very small piece of software and it will use the user's current browser.
    • Since no one will give you a decent answer...

      Mozilla was a project under the Netscape umbrella, but it was recently set up as a separate non-profit entity (with a healthy coupla million from netscape/AOL). The current version of Netscape is based on the Mozilla browser, with a buncha AOL specific branding and some minor features stripped out (like pop-up blocking, I believe).

      They share the same render engine, Gecko.
    • Reply to self (Score:3, Informative)

      by etymxris ( 121288 )
      Mod parent down, he has it all wrong ;)

      "To help launch the new organization, America Online has pledged $2 million in cash to the Mozilla Foundation over the next two years. AOL will also contribute additional resources through equipment, domain names and trademarks, and related intellectual property, as well as providing some transitional assistance for key personnel as they move into the new organization."

      It isn't specific what the trademarks were. But given the launch of this service, I'm guessing

    • I remember when AOL bought Netscape, they bought it mostly for the value of the portal; and didn't care about the browser too much.

      The portal still has some value, even if it has lost value over the last number of years.

      When they split off the Netscape browser project, they probably reserved the right to keep using 'Netscape' in reference to their own online content...
  • it's not like they'd call it "Time Warner Netscape"

    right? []
  • Until the telcos get involved, using the phone to connect to the net is still very expensive. My DSL is finally going DOWN due to the telco (SW Bell) lowering the cost of the line BUT the service itself through a 3rd party ISP is staying the same. When AOL/MSN/whoever gets into the phone co business THEN we will see a REAL reduction is price and not just a loss of functionality to allow for a lower price.
  • This marks the first time I have EVER considered AOL as a potential ISP. When all you want is a basic connection, AOL used to be the absolute worst way to go. This new option may be more suitable to advanced users.
    • And the fact that they don't have enough inbound lines doesn't count for anything?

      I don't care about the bells & whistles. My mother has AOL, and when I am at her house, I can minimize the shitty AOL environment and just use IE. Normal net apps work fine.
  • Let's take the name of a well-known web browser and name our Internet service after it!

    (Great... Now people will assume they've already got an ISP because they see a "Netscape" icon on their desktop.)

    That's about as stupid as Microsoft renaming MSN to "Internet Explorer" - for the sake of "brand recognition".
    • That's about as stupid as Microsoft renaming MSN to "Internet Explorer" - for the sake of "brand recognition".

      I know more than a few users who actually don't know the difference between the web browser and the ISP. Hell, some people don't even know what a web browser is. To them it's simply "the internet".

    • Let's take the name of a well-known web browser and name our Internet service after it!

      Netscape is already an Internet service. Netscape has also been a web portal for 6 years or more (before AOL bought it). I rarely use it, but apparently it's pretty popular in some circles.

  • Why does AOL STILL require custom software when all necessary parts of a PPP connection come with any system? Connecting to AOL and getting all the content I can understand, but ...

    oh who cares, i'm tried of ranting.
  • "lo be the day when trusted men are bent to evil ways..."
  • Is it me or do the folks at Netscape (now at AOL) have a problem trying to sell or get people to use an abysmal product (JavaScript) by naming it after something successful just to help people put two and two together? It annoys tech folks and confuses the hell out of normal folks.
  • ...the barrel... I am sure this "Netscrape" service will be.

    Where is the customer base for this service going to come from? Existing AOL clients, or the people who won't pay $20+ a month for internet?

    They might do okay if they picked up some local access numbers for some heavily populated, but yet still rural areas. I remember when Netscape was the bigger better brother to Mosaic...

    But hey, they own the name... they can use it. Wonder if their default supported browser will still be IE??
    • Scrape on. The more people that turn onto the Internet, the better. As public awareness raises, more Internet-centric technologies are going to be accepted by the public.

      Who cares if Netscape Online users are a bunch of hicks from the swamplands of the deep south? Today: hicks of the US, tomorrow: villagers from every corner of the world! Ok that's streatching things a bit, but we will get there eventually.

      I do, however agree that they are whoring out the Netscape name once associated with browser sup
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @03:13PM (#7212107) Homepage Journal
      Back in the day there were 3 rings of the cluebie hell. The first ring was CompuServe. These were the people who were almost bright enough to get a flat-rate PPP provider. Some of them atoned for their sins and moved to the Internet.

      The second ring of Cluebie Hell is AOL. Pretty much the same demographic that made FOX the network it is today. 'Nuff said. Some of them atoned for their sins and moved to CompuServe.

      The third ring was were the truly damned were kept. It was called Prodigy. Words can not describe this horrific place, you had to experience it for yourself. Fortunately Prodigy has departed this world as have all of its users. You see, a secret government program was started when it was found that we could raise the collective IQ of the entire race by 10 points by eliminating the Prodigy users. They were all quietly taken out and shot and the service was closed down. Know any ex-Prodigy users? No? That's not a coincidence.

      • Unfortunately, I do. They're about the level of the AOLuser. BTW, they didn't eliminate the ISP part - SBC Yahoo Dial accounts were given to Prodigy customers. So, does that make them SBC Yahoo Dialusers?
      • I am an ex-prodigy user. I used it on my first PC back in 1989, way before it was easy to get true 'net access. This was before Prodigy tried to get on the web. It had some fun games at the time, and the boards were OK. I was only on it for a short time until I discovered BBSes, and eventually sysoped my own. Around 94 a company came to my area with true net access, and I got on that for 2 years before going to college and getting a degree in CS.

        Prodigy is still alive today, it has been assimilated into th
  • This could be just the boost that No More AOL CDs [] needs...

    Come on guys, they are 1/4 of the way to a million AOL cds...send the new ones you have in with the old ones collecting dust in your closet!

    Any other fun things to do with AOL CDs?
  • Make of it what you will but, lately there has been a big push to get away from the AOL moniker. In the past few days Time Warner has dropped the AOL name and is changing its stock symbol from AOL.

    Now AOL is announcing new services but they too are avoiding the AOL name. What's next? Rename AOL to AISP or The Internet?
  • by leftie ( 667677 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @02:37PM (#7211657)
    They have taken away internet access and they just show you all the AOL advertising
  • Smart move (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GeorgeK ( 642310 )

    This sounds like a smart move, to segment their markets, and thereby avoid losing business to some of the low-priced alternatives. Assuming they don't cannibalize their higher margin customers, it should be a net positive.

    I think AOL might want to come out with a version that boots directly from a CD, and doesn't rely on Windows, etc. This would be a nice turnkey system for those who are not very familiar with PCs. Using technology from Knoppix [], I bet they could squeeze in everything into a bootable CD.

  • by W2k ( 540424 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {suilesnevs.mlehliw}> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @02:45PM (#7211773) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe you americans still put up with shit like this. Here in Sweden, it has been possible for ages to get dial-up Internet from our largest ISP for only slightly more than $3/month - and that includes five POP3 accounts (with optional webmail access), 50 megs of webspace (accessible via FTP) and free telephone support.

    A dial-up without the extra features (just the web, baby) costs nothing per month, and per-minute charges are less than $2 per hour during peak hours (less than $1 off-peak).

    Most importantly, we don't have any ISP's that require their customers to run special bugware (read "AOL Software" - and I'm blatantly assuming here that it's a required install, feel free to correct me). You lot obviously need to let your ISP's know what exactly constitutes acceptable pricing for stuff like "simple" Internet access :)

    • How is 3$/month + 1$ to 2$ / hours cost less than 9.95$ / month?

      You seem to forgot that in North America, there is no per-minute charges for local calls.

      Surfing more than 6 hours (off-peak) will cost more in Sweden than in the US. I'm pretty sure that monthly average of these internet users will surf more than 6 hours a month.

    • Umm, is that with unmetered calls? Here in the U.S. we don't have per-minute charges. Five hours of web per week under your plan, and you're already over $40. Sounds like a rotten deal to me.
    • A dial-up without the extra features (just the web, baby) costs nothing per month, and per-minute charges are less than $2 per hour during peak hours (less than $1 off-peak).

      I don't have any per minute charges for land-line telephone service, and a POTS line is about $20 for residential use. Let's see:

      $10 for ISP
      $20 for POTS

      $3 for ISP
      $30 for 20 hours of on-line time per month (half at $1/hour, half at $2/hour = $1.50 average * 20 = $30)

      Total: $33.00.

      w00t! Sweden is soooo m
    • ...and per-minute charges are less than $2 per hour during peak hours (less than $1 off-peak)...

      This is where it becomes clear you're comparing apples and oranges. Per-minute charges? US dial-up customers are paying typically $9-12/month for unlimited usage with local numbers and usually have flat-rate phone service. You're just handing over your money in a somewhat different way, or did you think free ISP service was a moneymaker by itself?

      AOL charges more because of its extensive proprietary content and

    • Is the ISP getting kickbacks from the telephone company? That is how some "free" ISPs make their money.
    • by W2k ( 540424 )

      Okay, so I forgot to include the fact that your AOL's $10/month is actually flatrate, no per-minute charges, making it cheaper than our $3/mo + $1-2/hr for anyone who uses the Internet more than only very little (<6 hrs per month, was it?)

      I apologize for my mistake. Good thing I have lots of karma points to burn.
    • To be perfectly fair US telecos are heavily subsidized (or at least were at some point) by the US Government, on top of that I'd imagine that with the raging population differences between teh two countries there is more a profit in bulk rates (for flate fees) in the US then there would be in Sweden.

      On a side note, it's nice to see that racism, xenophobia, and blind chest thumping nationalism are alive an well on the slashdot forums.
  • please AOL, stop this....just let netscape die so we can remember it as a good company who helped start the internet revolution.
  • Hm, no mention of the browser that is being offered in the download. Makes me wonder if their agreement with MS a while back to renew IE and put "Netscape" out to pasture will result in people downloading the Netscape software package with IE integrated. Also missing are keypoints like standardized email, dial up, and no proprietary drivers and network settings. Will people paying less actually end up getting more?
  • Compuserve [], which is wholly owned by AOL, and branded as their 'aol - lite and cheaper' ISP service? Or, will 'netscape' be the new name for 'compuserve'?
    • you're getting to their business plan: own most of dialup market, and then be YOURSELF the 'competitor' as well, so you get both those wanting to use your service and those who use another service just not to use your service. you see, if there's 20 competitors, of which 19 is owned by one single owner, then it's pretty hard to jump into that market as an 'alternative'.

      or i might be losing my marbles.
  • Why would I want to Scrape my net? Why does AoL let me do that? It can't be safe for the children. AoL iz teh best! lololol.
  • From the article:

    "-will offer a single e-mail account, search powered by Google and some news links, the source added."

    Oh wow......sign me up! But in all seriousness, if they can offer a dialup account that ISN'T cluttered by their software, AND isn't the slowest service in the world, AND doesn't force you to see ads, then more power too them.

    Since you can currently have an AOL account for $10 a month without using them for net access (like if you connected over your school's network or something) and si

  • Just what we need. Another goddamned cheap AOL for the spammers to latch onto. With AOL's "Screw you, you're not one of ours" anti-spammer policy, this should work wonders for our inbaskets, not to mention our mail servers.

    I can't think of anything else to say that's not profane.

  • Netscape (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <.moc.yggorhp. .ta. .3todhsals.> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @02:51PM (#7211842) Homepage
    What I want to know is, will they ship the Netscape 7 browser to subscribers, ship a Netscape-branded hack of Internet Explorer with the home page set to, or provide no extra software at all?

    This could be a nightmare for tech support. You have no idea how many times I've had people tell me their web browser or Internet Service Provider was Yahoo, because that's what their home page was set to.
    • AOL paid MS them millions then dumped the Mozilla project. I bet it will be one of them IE skins that nobody knows to uninstall. My isp installs one onto IE if you use their (unnecessary) software.
    • ship a Netscape-branded hack of Internet Explorer with the home page set to

      Seems likely - they're not going to spend much on R&D for the cut-rate service.

      Me in 1996: One day Netscape will be nothing but a cut-rate version of AOL running Internet Explorer.
      The rest of the Internet: HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAH!

      Yes, ladies and Gentlemen, the Browser Wars are over. Microsoft beats Netscape, 4 games to 2.
      What were the anti-trust remedies again?
    • Re:Netscape (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _xeno_ ( 155264 )
      It's probably going to be an IE-based browser. Take a peak at []. Imagine you've never heard of Netscape before and try and figure out what Netscape is. It appears to be some kind of crappy portal like MSN [] or even Yahoo [], which is what this service would probably center around.

      But based on "the Netscape service would be a smaller download" I have to assume that it would be a Netscape-branded Internet Explorer that users would use. Just imagine... "Internet Explorer powered by Netscape" as

  • But will they *finally* use the Netscape/Mozilla browser for the service? If not, that would be a very interesting end to the browser wars: Netscape internet service acessiable only in IE.

    It will also add to the tech support confusion as people will no longer understand the distinction between a browser and a service.
  • Ok guys, we gotta determine what name we'll actually call these users/the service. With AOL, it was easy- AOHell etc.

    So what can we come up with for stupid AOL Netscape users/the service? Netscrape? Net-escape? Come on people, I'm graspin' at straws here, help me out.

    • Just pick any of the old derogatory names for the Netscape browser. Nutscrape was popular; call the users Nutscrapers. There were a bunch of other variant names if you don't like that one.

    • But that was back when netscape really did crash all the time. Not always the fault of netscape, Windows 3.1 wasn't exactly stable, and netscape did use more than it could deliver.

      Appearently I'm amoung the few who remember that netscape was themselves evil, and did evil things in their attempt to own the net. I joined the any browser [] campaign in reaction to netscape, back when microsoft didn't care about the internet.

  • The run of the mill AOL account lacks standard features such as spam filtering and a way to save e-mails intact. How can it be stripped down even more than this?
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @02:54PM (#7211902)
    This is desperate ploy to bring back some of the luster to the DOA dial-up service they have been slowly burying for some time. Parsons should just fess up and admit he wants to run a media business without the distraction of an ultra-low-maring connectivity dinosaur. This would in effect completely undo the TW/AOL merger - a move most shareholders would welcome, now that it is understood and accepted that all the merger did was vaporize shareholder wealth.
    • Here's an idea:

      Sell AOL to CompuServe. They could become THE one-stop shop for brainless 'tards who want pretty screens and useless content.

    • Yes. Let us get rid of the broadband and cable sectors of AOL/TW. You know...the ones that showed more profit than any other division and have consistantly done so for years? It's not connectivity that's AOL's failings but a complete lack of respect for their customers, someting the TW side has never displayed. Hell, when I toured TW's tiny insignificant profitable Troy roadrunner branch five years ago, the guys were talking about having to buy more servers for the local online gamers and space for thei
    • But at the same time they could be effectively putting a brake on IE dominance of the Internet. If AOL always put the latest version of Netscape on their installer disks, it could give the browser standards issue another 3-6 years of breathing room. If enough mom-and-pop people buy the Netscape brand and therefore as a group hold a significant level of market share (say 10%) then web-content creaters would be more likely to adhere to the W3C documentation for creating standards-compliant pages.
  • Microsoft has announced a new, limited version of MSN called "Internet Explorer." It will cost $9.95/month.

    A possible bundling of the service with Windows XP is being discussed.
  • The service will have less of the 'extras' that AOL users are used to, but will only cost $9.95 a month.

    Is 'extras' directly translatable to 'crap'?
  • Isn't that just silly? I mean, reducing the name of Netscape to a cheap-ass striped down service is just plain mean. Not to mention all the confusion this will create, "Netscape provieder or Netscape browser?"
  • I can see it now... some AOL guy comes on screen:

    Back in November 1998, we bought Netscape for 4.2 billion dollars... but now, we're offering it to you for just $9.95 a month! Operators are standing by.

  • ... this new service will use IE as its browser ;-)

    Or will they actually use netscape ???

  • by estoll ( 443779 )
    As if the average Internet user wasn't confused enough as it is already! Most people don't know the difference between the Internet and a web browser. Now AOL is just blinding them further with their own ignorance.
  • Walmart (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hendridm ( 302246 )
    I think they might have been testing this for some time now. The $9.95 unlimited Internet access from Walmart looks and sounds eerily similar to AOL (similar packaging and marketing). I thought AOL *couldn't* be selling Walmart access for so much cheaper than they are offering it to their own customers, but it looks like that is in fact what they were doing.
  • by revividus ( 643168 ) <> on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @03:09PM (#7212057) Homepage
    If they include Netscape 7 as the default browser, maybe Mom and Pop will get used to tabs (if they realize they exist), and actually realize how backward IE is becoming...
  • They need to market it as a more permanent email service, which one can access no matter who your isp is, or if your away.
  • BankOne announced today that their online payment service will be renamed to Napster in order to leverage the brand-name recognition afforded by their recent buyout of the defunct music-swapping network.

    Furthermore, their collections department will henceforth be known as United Payout Service, and collections agents will show up at your door wearing brown "UPS" uniforms and carrying tantalizingly wrapped parcels.

    Brad Templeton, formerly of the Electronic Frontier Foundation but now hailing from the recen
  • at least now when you ask your friend's mom what ISP she uses and she says 'Netscape', you won't think she's a freakin moron.

    oh wait..
  • Could it be that "Netscape" will be the next "Amiga" brand? In other words, a once-great brand that they just slap on things they want to draw attention to, even though the new offerings have absolutely nothing to do with the original?

    AOL are fools to have let go of the Mozilla people. Netscape 7.x would have been the perfect fully-integrated client software for this new service. And it would have been cross-platform from the very beginning, allowing AOL to tap into markets that were otherwise inaccessi
  • So all those lame-brained users I worked with when I did tech support back in 1995 can be right now when they call and say "my netscape is down!"

    -- Greg
  • In a move to cash-in on name recognition, AOL will be naming this service 'Netscape'

    Naming it Netscape for name recognition? Is that a variation of the "Good idea" theme? Remember a variation of a good idea is "not a good idea".
  • GREAT.
    See, I used to work at Netscape.
    Now if I apply for another job, I'm going to have the HR wingnut say "Oh, Netscape! I used to have them for my internet but I kept getting busy signals."

    Thanks, AOL! This is even better than the 800 underwater stock options I was given as a "thanks" for them not laying me off. Actually, I would have come out far far ahead if they would have actually laid me off. And oh, how I tried to get laid off. Steve Case never did return my call about the missing espresso machine.
  • Does AOL have any idea how difficult the naming scheme they're using is going to be for the customer support areas of companies?

    I mean, we deal with a lot of customers where I work and browser compatibility is a big issue. Now we'll have to ask 'Are you using Netscape the browser, or Netscape the internet service'.

    It'd be like Honda renaming the 'Civic' to 'Toyota':
    * not actual Toyota automobile
  • Why this is bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @04:35PM (#7212930) Homepage
    1. AOL is removing the biggest star on the net right now. Instant Messaging.

    2. It will most likely use a version of IE, which people will call netscape, adding to the confusion (Mozilla is Netscape, IE is Netscape, Netscape is Netscape?)

    3. Yet another stab at kiling innovation. At least AOL was playing with new features for the masses (IM, etc). Now it will be making a generic IE browser the popular tool.

  • by rklrkl ( 554527 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @07:35PM (#7214435) Homepage
    The UK had a Netscape-branded ISP years ago - its portal [] is still, surprisingly, available and I even have the Netscape Online ISP CD I picked up from a branch of Woolworth (probably the only ISP CD at that time that came with Netscape [4.X] instead of IE !). I have no idea if you can still sign up for Netscape Online in the UK - anyone got any ideas (the portal gives no clue)? I reckon you'll just sign up with AOL if you tried that old CD now :-)

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.