Netscape usage

The story of Netscape
An article by Niclas Fogwall: © 2015

Once upon a time there was a browser called Netscape. It was the king of browsers — fast, innovative, cool. When people thought of the internet, they thought of Netscape.

Bill Gates at Microsoft decided to kill Netscape and to dominate the world of browsers. The only problem was that their browser, Internet Explorer, was much inferior to Netscape. However, Microsoft had the power to force Windows users into becoming loyal users when their browser was embedded into the operating system.

This was the starting point of a period known as the browser war. Microsoft made Internet Explorer incompatible with Netscape. Web designers had to take into account the behaviour of Internet Explorer as an increasing number of people used it as their new primary browser. Two other important tactics were then applied by Microsoft. Firstly, to make sure that new features were added to the html protocol, but only compatible with Internet Explorer. Secondly, to use aggressive marketing and development of html production tools, based on Internet Explorer. As a result, websites using code optimized for Internet Explorer became incompatible with Netscape (but rarely vice versa). People who wanted to visit certain websites were forced into using Internet Explorer. Only a fraction of Windows users managed to avoid using it. This ugly way of destroying healthy competition upset many Netscape users who developed a defiant attitude towards Microsoft.

In 1999, Netscape had lost the battle but the dot-com bubble was expanding insanely, and Netscape was valued at a whooping $10 billion. AOL acquired Netscape which made stock holders happy and developers sad. The first thing AOL did, was to sue Microsoft for abused monopoly power. However, this was not the vengeance that Netscape had hoped for. The court settlement included royalty-free distribution rights of Internet Explorer. AOL disbanded Netscape and the once so magnificent Netscape logo was removed from the building.

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