Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Netscape is ten years old today.

"Netscape is a powerful commercial navigator for the Internet, offering point-and-click network navigation. It is optimized to run smoothly over 14.4 kilobit/second modems..." (1st press release)

The first Netscape browser was released on October 13, 1994, introducing the general public to the Internet and product development to the concept of "Internet time." A whole lot sure has happened with it since then -- most in only four years, during the "browser wars". (Timeline.) It's kind of hard to believe that until a mere ten years ago there was no Internet as we know it today.

In November of 1998 Netscape was sold to AOL for stock worth $4 billion, which grew in value to almost $9 billion by the time the deal closed. (There sure was an Internet then!)

Most people consider that Netscape died then, although you can still download the Netscape browser (it's up to version 7.2) as well as its close relatives Mozilla and Firefox.

Since then there's been endless analysis of the "failure" of Netscape -- or its murder at the hands of Microsoft.

All I can say is that if I ever start a business that fails or is murdered, I sure hope it leaves me $9 billion to remember it by after I bury it, like Netscape did for its owners.

That's the kind of failure and victimization I could live with.

CNET has a special section of articles marking Netscape's 10th, and if you want to check out news of the life that remains in it hop over to Mozillazine