NEW YORK ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ Netscape Navigator, the world’s first commercial Web browser and the launch pad of the Internet boom, will be pulled off life support Feb. 1 after a 13-year run. Its current caretakers, Time Warner Inc.’s AOL, decided to kill further development and technical support to focus on growing the company as an advertising business. Netscape’s usage dwindled with Microsoft Corp.’s entry into the browser business, and Netscape all but faded away following the birth of its open-source cousin, Firefox…. “While internal groups within AOL have invested a great deal of time and energy in attempting to revive Netscape Navigator, these efforts have not been successful in gaining market share from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer,” Netscape Director Tom Drapeau wrote in a blog entry Friday. In recent years, Netscape has been little more than a repackaged version of the more popular Firefox, which commands about 10 percent of the Web browser market, with almost all of the rest going to Internet Explorer.
Time was when I swore by Netscape. Back when I still used Windows, I considered Internet Explorer to be Of The Devil, so I used Netscape because it wasn’t like there were a lot of options at that time. This was back before Netscape become Firefox in sheep’s clothing. I have no idea whether or not it performed better or faster, and I frankly didn’t much care. I just hated IE with every fiber of my being, a sentiment that hasn’t really changed a whit with the passage of time.
I use IE at work because it’s the corporate standard and my employer has a thing for outdated and virtually obsolete software. Go figure. At home, though, when I’m on my MacBook I use Firefox, Opera, Safari, or Camino. They all do various things well and others not so well, but the one thing they have in common is that none of them are Internet Explorer.
I’d like to say that I’ll mourn the loss of Netscape, but it’s not like they’ve done anything terribly original over the past few years. The good news is that I finally figured out how to get away from Internet Explorer. I bought a Mac. Problem solved.