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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 Netscape.com 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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Death By Standards
By Inkjammer on 1/1/2008 9:47:47 AM , Rating: 2
Netscape started losing ground because they decided to follow standards. About the time Netscape switched over to the Gecko Engine, IE was in its prime and gaining ground. Lots of websites out there were coded specifically using IE tags, and Netscape had a problems rendering those pages successfully.

To the average consumer, those incompatibilities were a Netscape problem. They didn't realize it was IE not following the W3 development standards. Still, who wanted to use a browser that didn't work with seemingly 1/4th of all sites on the net? Netscape started losing a lot of its userbase as a result.

To this day, Microsoft STILL has problems following open standards in IE. It's a shame.




RE: Death By Standards
By TomZ on 1/1/2008 4:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
Your statement is ironic, since it seems to be completely opposite of the reality:

Because the Netscape browser initially implemented many features not available in other browsers and quickly came to dominate the market, a number of web sites were designed to work, or work fully, only when they detected an appropriate version of Mozilla in the user agent string. Thus, competing browsers began to emulate (cloak or "spoof") this string in order to also work with those sites. The earliest example of this is Internet Explorer's use of a user agent string beginning "Mozilla/<version> (compatible; MSIE <version>...", in order to receive content intended for Netscape, its main rival at the time of its development. This format of user agent string has since been copied by other user agents, and persisted even after Internet Explorer came to dominate the browser market.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozilla#Part_of_.22us...


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