Ralph Nader targets AOL/Netscape deal

Consumer activist Ralph Nader's Consumer Project on Technology group has published a statement urging the federal government to block the sale of Netscape Communications to America Online (AOL). The statement says that AOL already dominates the online industry and that giving the company control of one of the two Web browsers now in widespread use would give it an unfair advantage. Since Microsoft also owns an online business, MSN, the AOL deal will force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to purchase Web browsers from either one of their two biggest competitors.

An interesting concern voiced in the statement is that AOL will eventually drop development of Netscape Navigator because of its reliance on Microsoft Internet Explorer: IE is tightly integrated with AOL's client software and the company has said that it will continue to use IE because it doesn't want to lose its place on the Windows desktop.

"We are also concerned about the impact of the merger on Netscape's commitment to supporting software that runs on Linux or other operating systems that compete with Windows," the statement reads. "We would be concerned, for example, if AOL agreed to suppress Linux technology in order to obtain favorable locations on Microsoft's Windows desktop."

If you're interested in reading the statement, head on over to the CPT home page

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