Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nescape RIP

Today brings more news that demonstrates that no one can assume the right to exist in the digital world forever. Netscape Navigator, the world’s first commercial Web browser will no longer be developed and effectively die in February after a 13-year run.

Netscape once competed handsomely with Microsoft Explorer but could not compete when Explorer was bundled into the ‘package’. Netscape has since seen the emergence of its open-source cousin, Firefox and now other browsers such as Safari. Where Firefox now commands around 10% of the browser market Explorer dominates.

Some may argue that Microsoft’s dominance was bad and unhealthy but others would say it was good for development in that software only needed to be built to work on Explorer and often trying to port it to other browsers and maintain backward compatibility was a pain if not always possible. The new challenge lies in the mobile world and whether browsers such as Safari can become the de facto standard

People will still be able to download and use the Netscape browser indefinitely, but AOL who paid $10 billion for the product will stop releasing security and other updates on 1st February.