When Netscape Almost Destroyed Microsoft
Here's a story that started in 1989, with Microsoft's alliance with IBM, and their joint OS/2 venture. But it would lead to an Antitrust case waged against Microsoft in 1998 by the United States Government.
At the core of this case was Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and the way it had been rammed into Windows '95, in order to crush the competition of Netscape Navigator. It's a story that the media followed intently, and I felt it was time to re-tell it, and just refresh our memories.
Netscape Navigator was a proprietary web browser, and the original browser of the Netscape line, from versions 1 to 4.08, and 9.x. It was the flagship product of the Netscape Communications Corp and was the dominant web browser in terms of usage share in the 1990s, but by 2002 its use had almost disappeared.
This was primarily due to the increased use of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser software, and partly because the Netscape Corporation (later purchased by AOL) did not sustain Netscape Navigator's technical innovation in the late 1990s.
The business demise of Netscape was a central premise of Microsoft's antitrust trial, wherein the Court ruled that Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system was a monopolistic and illegal business practice. The decision came too late for Netscape, however, as Internet Explorer had by then become the dominant web browser in Windows.
The Netscape Navigator web browser was succeeded by the Netscape Communicator suite in 1997. Netscape Communicator's 4.x source code was the base for the Netscape-developed Mozilla Application Suite, which was later renamed SeaMonkey.
Netscape's Mozilla Suite also served as the base for a browser-only spinoff called Mozilla Firefox.
The Netscape Navigator name returned in 2007 when AOL announced version 9 of the Netscape series of browsers, Netscape Navigator 9. On December 28, 2007, AOL canceled its development but continued supporting the web browser with security updates until March 1, 2008.
AOL allows downloading of archived versions of the Netscape Navigator web browser family. AOL maintains the Netscape website as an Internet portal.