It’s a sad day (sort of), when someone who was ‘first’ in something – and a true innovator, distruptor – all those things, calls it quits. We’re fortunate enough to have Firefox now (and Mozilla) to provide a good alternative to IE, but no one will ever forget the first time they used Netscape!
Here is a nice article from PC Mag.
We reflect on the Web browser’s short, sad history.Twelve years ago, Netscape’s still-young (though already in its second version) Navigator browser took home its first Editors’ Choice award from PC Magazine. We said it “pushed the technology envelope in every direction, from embedded multimedia to advanced HTML.” It was all so quaint. And now it’s all so over.AOL, Netscape’s parent, will officially put a stake in the heart of the Netscape browser operation on March 1. Version 9 (wow, we made it all the way to 9!) will be the last Navigator. I read the news with a combination of resignation and sorrow. Resignation because Netscape’s browser had ceased to be the smart, simple, leading browser I used a good eight years ago, and sorrow because I loved that old browser. For me, Netscape Navigator Gold was the gold standard in Web browsing.What most people forget (and, of course, none of the young adults, teens, and kids coming online today know) is there was a time when Netscape ruled. Web pages were designed to work with Netscape’s browser. Netscape owned 90 percent or so of the browsing market. Back in the day, we all laughed at lame attempts to lure Web surfers onto the Internet Superhighway with Internet Explorer.Okay, that’s a lie. None of us laughed. In fact, we thought Microsoft Internet Explorer (as it was officially called back then) was quite good, and though Netscape was “ubiquitous,” IE had features Netscape users had never seen before, including exotic things like tables, moving marquees, and AVI video animation. It also had something that was far more important, though I don’t think we knew it at the time. Instead, we mentioned it in our March 12, 1996 review almost in passing, “Many will use it just because it’s there, it’s free, and it dovetails with Windows 95.”And so the foundation was laid for a near-decade-long antitrust battle and the eventual demise of Netscape Navigator. IE, as one of the first free browsers and the only one to offer tight integration with an , was a real departure from Navigator and virtually every other browser on the market. Navigator also cost $49, and Netscape’s sluggishness in realizing how compelling “free” could be was the first of many missteps. Perhaps the biggest slap in Nestscape’s face was that I, like many Netscape Navigator Gold devotees, actually used Navigator to download IE 2.0 from the Microsoft Web site.