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Sunday, 30th December 2007

A Bit of Web History: Time to Say Goodbye, Adios, Shalom: So Long Netscape!

A little bit of history.

If you've been using the WWW since the early days it's likely you'll never forget the first time you saw Netscape. It was a wow. We will also never forget that in those early days when you asked what search engine someone searched they would often respond NETSCAPE! Of course, some 17 years later that still happens from time to time. :-)

Now, word from AOL 1 ||| 2, the current owner of Netscape, that they will no longer be supporting the browser.

As the great baseball player Satchell Paige once said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." Well, in this case, most knew it was MSFT. Still, it's a lesson in not taking any hour of business for granted.

At one point, Netscape controlled 80%, that's right, 80% of the browser marketplace. Today, while Firefox has a devoted following (and for good reason in our view) most of that marketshare is controlled by Microsoft. So, score another for Gates and crew. Of course, there are close ties between Netscape and Mozilla/Firefox.

This News.com post from October, 1994 has a useful chronology of Netscape's history beginning with Marc Andreessen 1993 announcement of the development of Mosaic, a graphical web browser. Other browsers also exisited at this time like Cello and SlipKnot. Of course, Netscape is the one that took off.

So goes another web tool. From one day at the top of the heap to 17 years later, no more. Time sure flies and even those of us who follow the web and search closely can easily forget.

Perhaps another question for AOL? What will become of the now spam-filled DMOZ or Open Directory.

Other Key Dates
Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen found Mosaic Communications (later Netscape) and October 1994
First public beta of the Netscape Browser is released

August 1995
Netscape goes public at $28 a share. It closes at $58.25.

August 1995
Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 1.0.

Early Netscape Annual Report
53 pages.

January 1998
Netscape creates Mozilla.org and says a new browser will be free and open source. First Mozilla post.

November 1998
America Online buys Netscape for $4.2 billion.
See Also.

Much more on this timeline from News.com.

Source: News.com


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