Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Netscape is dead. Which is a shame, since I always preferred it to IE, but on the other hand its progency, Firefox, is alive and well, with versions for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

But at this time of passing it needs to be noted that Netscape didn't so much die as get slowly strangled. For some years, Netscape lead the field - and helped proved the existence of a market for online activity. Then Microsoft, having pretty much ignored the online market until others proved its value, jumped in with "oh, we have a browser now - and it's a Microsoft browser!" And way too damned many people went "Oooh! It's a Microsoft browser! We gotta have that one!" It wasn't that IE was clearly better than Netscape (it wasn't) or even better at all, but it was Microsoft! And the sheep trailed behind like, well, like sheep.

And then, of course, there was the "integration" of IE into Windows, making it, Gates Gang Inc. said, an "integral part" of the operating system. That was utter bull (hackers quickly developed ways to rip IE out without affecting Windows' performance) and was part of what lead to that big antitrust suit, the one that died a sputtering death when the Shrub gang hit town and decided that actually doing something about monopoly power was not in their interest. The relevant point here is that with IE slapped onto every copy of Windows, a goodly number of people were unwilling to use a "different" browser when there was one right there!

But the fatal blow was delivered by AOL, which bought out the rights to Netscape and then to the surprise of many, cut a deal with Microsoft to make IE, not Netscape, AOL's default browser! With that, Netscape's audience just withered to being all but non-existant.

It really is a shame.

Oh, but don't forget, besides Firefox, Opera ver. 9.25 is out there for Windows and Apple's standard browser, Safari, now has a beta version for Windows. So you have lots of choices beyond "oooh, Miiicrosoffft!"

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