Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Demise of Netscape

AOL pulls plug on Netscape Web browser

Like many people, AOL was the first ISP I used when I started surfing the web. It was an OK service, but on dial-up the constant updates were too much of a hassle. Thankfully, I soon learned there was more to the web than AOL and got on a local ISP.

Netscape was the browser of choice back then. In the early days of the browser wars, one had to pay for Internet Explorer as Microsoft hadn't yet integrated it in with their operating system (Windows 95 at the time). Netscape was great: it was easy to use, it supported all the web standards of the time, and it even came with a WYSIWYG HTML editor which came in very handy in my early web page-making days.

When Microsoft put out a free version of IE, Netscape had a real run for the money if it was going to make it. Soon, IE stood head and shoulders above Netscape in features and ease of use. It seemed like the Netscape folks just gave up. They put out some VERY bad versions in the early 2000s which really spelled out doom for the old standard.

When AOL bought Netscape, they were bundling IE into their package. I though for sure AOL would bring Netscape back to life and dump IE in favor of something they would have more control over. But, it was not meant to be. Soon IE took over as the dominant browser and has been there ever since.

So, it comes as no real surprise to me that AOL is finally going to let Netscape die. I think it was a long time in coming. A chapter of web history closes.

I think the spirit of Netscape is still alive in Firefox. I find Firefox to be much better than IE in many ways. I don't see them going away any time soon.

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