AOL Time Warner plans to transform Netscape into an Internet-media hub.

AOL Time Warner, owner of the browser software, wants the media hub to be directed at office workers interested in the media, and surfers who do not subscribe to AOL services, according to Reuters. Components of Netscape's browser technology will continue to power new features of Netscape's media services.

AOL Time Warner appears to be consolidating its business units. According to analysts, this move is a concession to the dominance of competitor Microsoft's Internet Explorer. It frees the company to pursue other media markets, including computers, phones and television.

Media giant Netscape's metamorphosis into a media property started when AOL bought the browser platform in 1999, and then Time Warner in 2000. AOL Time Warner is the world's largest media company, with interests ranging from film to the Internet.

The $94 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner was described as "a marriage of old and new media", by Federal Communications Commission chairman, William Kennard, who approved the merger.

Netscape will become a hub for the core Time Warner properties, such as news network CNN, and magazines Fortune and Time. AOL Time Warner has been holding talks with Microsoft to renegotiate its licence to embed Internet Explorer in to its AOL browser service. The licence with Microsoft expired in January of this year, and talks to renew the contract have been thwarted by disagreements.

Netscape's base of registered users has grown 37 per cent, to more than 40 million worldwide from 15 million in February 2000, according to the company.