Networks

History of Netscape- The Rise and Fall

 

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            Netscape was created by Silicon Graphics’ Jim Clark and University of Illinois graduate Marc Andreessen. They first began working on the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Mosaic browser and began to see its potentially strong future. Next, in April of 1994, they fashioned Mosaic Communications Corporation by involving many previous NCSA and SGI employees. In October of very year, they released Mosaic Netscape 0.9, which progressed into Netscape Communications’ Netscape Navigator 1.0. When Netscape Navigator first launched, there was little rivalry in the realm of browsers, so it quickly became to be the standard portal into the early web of 1995. Microsoft was furiously working to catch up to Netscape and even had to license Mosaic’s technology to help create the first model of Internet Explorer.
            On August 9th, 1995, Netscape went public at a starting $28 per share price, however, at the end of that same day, the company’s value soared to close to $3 billion. At this moment, Microsoft was frantically preparing to release Windows 95, which included Internet Explorer 1.0 as well as TCP/IP; the protocol essential to using the web. Microsoft had Netscape in its sights and was ready to take the lead as the primary web browser. As Internet Explorer 3.0 was released, Microsoft was on par with Netscape regarding features offered. To compensate, Netscape chose to deviate from Microsoft’s game plan by releasing Netscape Communicator 4.0 in 1996; this was an effort to gain popularity of the enterprise crowd by offering a web editor, email app, address book, and a Usenet client. While this new approach to handling sales and management data handling and operations looked promising, it failed to please the many enterprises that Netscape Communicator 4.0 was intended for.
            As Netscape continuously developed Netscape Navigator and Communicator, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was quickly gaining recognition and users. An intense rivalry was forming hit its tipping point when Microsoft’s employees apparently placed its large Internet Explorer logo off at Netscape’s company’s location on the night of the release of Internet Explorer 4. Netscape obviously took this action offensively and pushed over the enormous Internet Explorer logo and then placed its Mozilla dragon mascot over it. They even had the dragon holding a sign that read “Netscape 72 Microsoft 18.” Netscape announced its goal of releasing the source code for Netscape Communicator to the public in January of 1988 in the hopes of promoting the Mozilla Organization. Unfortunately, by doing this, Netscape suffered from declining development of its browser platform, which in turn game Microsoft the lead it needed. By that Summer, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer became the most used browser, and Netscape would never be able to take the lead back.
            Despite these dark developments, Netscape was far from done. AOL saw the company in dire straits and decided to purchase it for $4.2 billion in November of 1998. After AOL’s acquisition of Netscape, they began slimming down the company and re-branded it as Netscape Browser. AOL officially ended Netscape as a browser in February of 2008. While the story of Netscape was ridden with gloomy details and events, its transition to open-source gave birth to Firefox. Like many success stories with a fast rise to power, the fall is just as quick. However, Netscape forged the way for many companies and thus gave us the man benefits of browsing the web that we all enjoy today.

Reference:
Cooper, Sean. “Whatever Happened to Netscape?”. Engadget. Engadget.com. Web. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2017.

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