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AOL kills Netscape Communicator, says use Firefox instead

AOL was one of the first companies to help get people online and one of its largest acquisitions was of Netscape Communications Corporation in 1999.

At one point, Netscape held around 90% of the browser market. Market share numbers show that Netscape currently has a mere 0.60% of the browser market. The industry leader is Microsoft with its Internet Explorer holding 77.35% of the browser market share.

When AOL bought Netscape, the process of converting Netscape Communicator into an open source application called Mozilla had already begun. According to The Netscape Blog, internal teams within AOL have invested time and energy into reviving Netscape Navigator but have been unable to gain any traction. Support for Netscape Navigator was limited within AOL to a “handful” of engineers who were tasked with creating a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions.

The demise of Netscape Navigator is blamed on AOL’s transition to an ad-supported web business leaving little money for the investment required to get Netscape to the point where it is expected to be by its fans and AOL.

AOL says that support for the current version of Netscape Navigator will end on February 1, 2008 and after that date there will be no active product support. Fans of Netscape communicator are encouraged to download Mozilla Firefox and use the Netscape extensions which will provide the same look and feel Netscape Navigator users are accustomed to. While the Netscape Navigator browser will no longer be supported, the portal will continue to operate.

AOL has gone from one of the most popular Internet service providers at the dawn of the Internet age to a has-been in recent years. In October of 2007 AOL laid off 20% of its workforce in attempts to stave the cash loss from the mass exodus of its subscribers.

AOL was also rocked by scandal in August of 2006 when it released the search histories of 650,000 users without permission -- a mistake many see as one of the first nails in the AOL coffin.

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Good riddence
By Locutus465 on 12/31/2007 4:03:11 PM , Rating: 3
Netscape was really never that great of a browser, even when it was the only game in town. I think this is the right choice, FF is much better than netscape could ever have hoped to be.

RE: Good riddence
By T4RTER S4UCE on 12/31/2007 5:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
A few years ago Navigator switched to the Gecko engine.

RE: Good riddence
By Locutus465 on 1/1/2008 1:12:03 AM , Rating: 2
Still felt heavy compared to Mozilla/FF

RE: Good riddence
By SlyNine on 1/1/2008 7:42:14 AM , Rating: 3
I wonder if AOL saved any money by switching.

RE: Good riddence
By marvdmartian on 1/2/2008 10:19:45 AM , Rating: 2
It was, however, much better than IE for a while, especially as it seemed most virus writers were going after IE vulnerabilities that Netscape didn't have to worry about.

I remember when I first went online in 97, my isp gave me Netscape 2.......on floppy!! Woohoo, man we were sailing back then! Wasn't long before i discovered that they had already come out with version 4, so I spent the $5 and got Communicator on cd. Used that for a couple years, then did the same with communicator 7. To me, that was the last good version, likely because AOHell already had their fingers in the pie, screwing things up.

Sadly, many pages I run across are still optimized for IE. Hard to believe, 10 years after I go online, that website page writers are still doing that, but I guess part of that is explained by the numbers.....and the stupid people that automatically use IE because it comes with windows, and never investigate other possibilities.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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