Sort of sad Internet News from InfoWeek:
AOL on Friday stopped development of the Netscape browser, saying the respected brand that launched the commercial Internet in 1994 had little chance of ever regaining market share against its archrival Microsoft's Internet Explorer.I never cared for the Netscape Browser. Once I began making web pages - not long after first going online! - I found it a tad unwieldy. I learned how to "do" HTML by studying the source codes for web pages. Internet Explorer's View/Source opened a text file that I could use to copy parts of the code and see what they did. I never got that kind of usefulness from the Netscape. It was just too much: too much buttons, too much tools, too much ... everything!
The Web portal, which took over Netscape Navigator in the $4.2 billion acquisition of Netscape Communications in 1999, said development on the browser had recently devolved into a "handful of engineers tasked with creating a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions." Firefox is the open source browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation.
While once commanding 90% of the browser market, Netscape Navigator now accounts for less than 1%, and AOL had no interest in spending what it would take to revive the brand. Instead, the company, which was once a subscriber-supported portal, preferred to spend its resources on its transition into an ad-supported Web business. The change left "little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be," Drapeau said.
Instead, AOL said it would leave it to the Mozilla Foundation to do battle against IE. When AOL acquired Netscape, the latter company was working on converting its browser into open source software that was later called Mozilla and became the foundation of Firefox.
Once I found IE too slow for some of the things I wanted to do, I tried out a few other browsers (Netscape got another look, too) and finally settled on Opera. I bought a User license for it, so highly did I think of it, and used it steadily for quite awhile. A few years back I discovered the Avant Browser and now that's my steady browser. And I sent money to its developer, as I had with Opera, to show my appreciation and to keep the free updates coming (Avant remains free, and the creator constantly updates it.) all the while.
So Netscape dying is not going to affect me at all, except to show that you have to keep current, and keep up with the competition. Internet Explorer was small potatoes when it first appeared. But it kept getting better until it overwhelmed Netscape. Yes, MS had a huge power advantage, too, but Netscape developers never quite grasped that the IE browser was more user-friendly, more acceptable to the "Newbies" who were finding the Internet every day. Firefox, Avant, Opera, and others are niche browsers. Nothing more. But they understand where they are in the Big Web Scheme of Things.
Goodbye, Netscape. You were one of the earliest and best. But you outlived your usefulness. Sleep well!
Note: Avant Browser runs on top of the computer's Internet Explorer engine. It is not independent as Firefox and Opera are. Still, I prefer it to IE for blogging, surfing, etc. I recommend it to you!