The web browser market hasn’t always been dominated by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. During the 90s, Netscape Navigator was THE web browsing force to be reckoned with. Even though Netscape is no longer available, many of its components were utilized in the development of Firefox (and SeaMonkey).
Will the first REAL web browser please stand-up
During the early days of the World Wide Web (WWW), Netscape Navigator reigned supreme. The satisfaction of watching the animated Netscape N while web pages assembled was unparalleled.
Netscape dominated the 90s until being acquired by America Online (AOL) in 1999, who of which, lacked the technical prowess needed to continue propelling the web browser forward. This event ushered in the dawn of the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser era and the beginning of the infamous browser wars.
Microsoft was also packaging IE with their Windows operating system at the time, which was later deemed as an antitrust violation. A decision that might have kept Netscape in the fray a bit longer had it not come long after it was far too late.
From the ashes – a Firefox rises
In 1997, Netscape Communicator was released and served as the building blocks for the Mozilla Application Suite, also developed by Netscape. The application suite was later renamed SeaMonkey and was utilized as the basis for a little-known web browser only spin-off called Mozilla Firefox.
SeaMonkey remains today as a community-maintained all-in-one Internet application suite containing a web browser, e-mail, newsgroup and feed clients, IRC chat and HTML editor that retains much of Netscape’s former look and feel.
Netscape’s final hour
AOL did attempt to bring Netscape back to life one last time in 2007 with the release of Netscape Navigator 9. Although Netscape’s return was brief (AOL discontinued support in 2008), core components from Netscape Navigator were responsible for bringing about two efforts that are both alive and well today: Firefox and SeaMonkey.
Thanks to these pioneers, we still have a bit of Netscape with us.
Netscape Navigator Web Browser History Sources/Learn More
- Netscape Navigator (Wikipedia)
- Microsoft Pulling Plug on Internet Explorer June 15, 2022 (Microsoft)
- Web Browser History (Mozilla)