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AOL pulls plug on Netscape Navigator Browser after 14 years

AOL (opens in new tab) has announced that it is going to end support for Netscape Navigator on the 1st of February 2008, nearly 14 years after it was released by Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark.

The decision to effectively killed Netscape, formerly known as Mosaic, came as AOL has failed to revive it as a leading alternative web browser. In effect, open sourcing Netscape back in 1998 was the final nail in the coffin.

Mozilla's Firefox is now the only real competitor to Internet Explorer with 16 percent of the market compared to 80 percent for Microsoft's browser.

Netscape market share has shrunk from 90 percent at one point to a fraction of a percent according to recent statistics and represents a substantial financial loss for AOL, who purchased Netscape Corporation for USD 4.2 billion back in 1998.

Netscape also spawned a number of services such as Netscape.com, a socially-driven news aggregator - Propeller and the Open Directory Project which powers a number of directory services - like Google's own Directory.

One of its lead programmers also created the JavaScript web page scripting language.

A core team of developers will continue work on the final browser - currently in version 9 - although development will be stopped and will no longer be actively supported.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.