Friday, December 28, 2007

End of an Era: Netscape Browser Development to Cease

It's a sad day and the end of an era. Development is to cease on the Netscape browser, which at one time held the largest market share of all browsers, and was the first browser to gain mass popularity.

However, it had been evident for a while that this move was only a matter of time. After all, while Netscape's big brother Firefox has over 16% of the browser market share, Netscape has only 0.6%.

It was the entry of Microsoft into the "browser wars" with Internet Explorer (IE) that eventually led to the dethroning of Netscape, as competing with a browser built into the OS proved impossible --- that and the ubiquitousness of Microsoft in general. Additionally more and more sites began coding for the "uniqueness" of IE.

AOL acquired Netscape Communications Corporation in 1999. However, in 1998 Netscape had created the Mozilla Organization, which eventually spun off into the Mozilla Foundation as AOL's involvement decreased. This eventually led to Firefox, released in 2004.

For quite some time it's been evident that Netscape has become just a reskinned Firefox browser, and that's admitted in AOL's blog post announcing this move.

Details:
  • Support will continue in the form of security updates until Feb. 1, 2008, when all support will end.
  • Netscape.com will continue as an Internet portal, though how long that will continue is questionable.
  • AOL is going to provide an archive site for older versions of Netscape, though why anyone would use them is beyond me.
The King is dead. Long live the King!


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