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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977


RIP Netscape

AOL has finally axed Netscape. Luckily, Mozilla development will continue, at least for the time being.

Unfortunately, this only weakens the browser market by leaving IE/Windows and Safari as the only fully-supported browsers under development (if you can still refer to IE as “under development”). Yes, there are still other browsers around (Opera fans UNITE!), and yes, AOL will be giving the Mozilla Foundation $2 Million to start them off (“here you go kiddies, a little play money for the rest of your summer vacation”), but for Netscape to cease to exist is a rather important milestone in the evolution of the web, and considering the level of standards compliance Netscape has provided in a mainstream browser, it’s death is not what I’d call a good sign.

Will Mozilla (and all its offshoots — I love using Firebird on my PC, and Camino still gets use whenever I tire of Safari’s quirks) be able to stick it out and find/create a source of funding for continued development? I hope so — I would hate to see the browser market shrink to Safari and IE.

This item was posted by Dan Rubin on Wednesday, July 16th, 2003.


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2 comments on “RIP Netscape”

  1. Posted by Sunny on Wednesday, July 16th, 2003.

    I never really used Netscape so I am a bit ambivalent.

    I had been a proud user of IE for the entirety of my browsing days until I started using Firebird. Now Firebird is the default.

    One thing I worry is that the Netscape fallout may mean the end of Mozilla development on the long run. Hopefully, that is not the case.

    And finally one thing that I still dont comprehend is why AOL bought Netscape in the first place and even when they did, why not use it. But given the present financial circumstances of AOL and past management decisions, the point is moot.

  2. Posted by MikeyC on Wednesday, July 16th, 2003.

    “And finally one thing that I still dont comprehend is why AOL bought Netscape in the first place”

    It was the free-wheelin’ late nineties when nothing made sense. That’s why the bubble burst. They bought Netscape for something like 4 billion! The value then skyrocketed to 9 billion! So at the time it seemed like a VERY good investment.

    “and even when they did, why not use it.”

    Many have speculated that it was simply purchased to be used as a bargaining chip against Microsoft. eg: “If you don’t give us a sweet-heart Internet Explorer licensing deal we’ll switch our 30 million subscribers over to Netscape!”