Rise to Fame and Glory
- March 1993: Marc Andreessen announces
Mosaic in alt.hypertext:
"Beta version 0.10 of Mosaic, NCSA's X/Motif-based networked
information systems browser, including full source code and binaries
(for SunOS 4.x, SGI IRIX 4.x, AIX 3.2, and DEC Ultrix), is now at
ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu in /Web/xmosaic: [...]"
- Mid.1994, Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen found Mosaic Communications.
- October 1994: Marc Andreessen announces Netscape 0.9. The original release of the browser supports all basic HTML 2 elements and some limited HTML 3 functionality.
- November 11, 1994: following a protracted lawsuit with the University of Illinois, "Mosaic Communications" is forced to rename itself "Netscape Communications." All references to this former identity are erased. The "M" logo is removed from the title graphic on home.mcom.com.
- Mosaic's Website in 1994
- Netscape's Website in 1994
- http://www.jwz.org/gruntle/nscpdorm.html - Read jwz's log of the early days.
- Mozilla, Netscape's mascot, can be seen everywhere on Netscape's site in those days. It's Netscape's main logo before 1995, when Mozilla was replaced by the familiar Netscape stars logo (Also seen in the Netscape throbber). Mozilla is also the internal name of any Netscape browser to date. Mozilla was inspired by Jamie Zawinski.
- See a picture of the Netscape engineers in 1994.
- April 1995: Netscape 1.1 released. 1.1 added table support as well as many of its own new HTML elements and attributes.
- July 1995: Final Netscape 1.2 released. Updates for the user interface for Windows 95 and added no new HTML support.
- By the summer of 1995 most WWW users on the internet were using Netscape's browser. Market share was at 80%+.
- With the launch of Windows 1995 and a web browser of its own (Internet Explorer) in August 1995, MS began to challenge Netscape. Unlike Netscape, Internet Explorer was free of charge, but not yet bundled with Windows (it came withe the old Plus! package).
The Browser Wars
- March 1996: Netscape Navigator 2 released. It introduced breakthrough features (frames, Java, Javacript, Plugins). With the Netscape 2 release Netscape successfully battled the MS giant. The Browser Wars begin: AOL bundles IE with its AOL software.
- August 1996: Netscape Navigator 3 released. The first beta was codenamed "Atlas". Many new features were added: new plugins, background colors in tables, support for underlining, frame borde control, font face styles. Also new elements to layout (multicol) and spacing control (spacer). Also new: the ARCHIVE atribute and the APPLET element.
- October 1996: Netscape becomes enterprise-software purveyor, rolling out intranet- and Internet-server software packages.
- August 1997: Netscape releases Netcaster, push-media software.
- Microsoft and Netscape battle for the WWW and its users.
- December 1996: Preview of Netscape Communicator 4.0 available. It adds the new LAYER element.
- Feburary 1997: Second preview release of Netscape Communicator 4: CSS/JSS support.
- April 1997: Third preview of NC 4: Imrovements to the CSS support.
- May 1997: Fourth and fifth preview release: Minor HTML improvements in Beta 4, introduction of the Netcaster push technology.
- June 1997: Netscape Communicator 4 Final released. More CSS support (much, but not all of CSS1), minimal dynamic font and OBJECT element support.
- 18 August 1997: Netscape announces an initiative to retain its browser share by forming 100 industry partnerships. Its new partners agree to package the Navigator browser -- unbundled from the Communicator suite -- with their products. The streamlined Navigator 4.0 includes Netcaster, basic email, and calendar software.
- 3 September 1997: Netscape unveils the Netcenter Web site, transforming the corporate Netscape.com into a site featuring news, software, and chat groups.
- January 1998: Netscape announces that all future Netscape browsers will be free of charge and also that the development of the browser will be open-source. Mozilla.org is founded. Grommit aka Netscape 5.0 announced ( see a t-shirt of the Netscape 5 developers team), based on Communicator code, soon to be cancelled in favor of Gecko (November 1998).
- 23 February 1998: Mozilla.org website launches. A dedicated internal team and the Web site guide the open source code to developers.
- 31 March 1998: Netscape releases programming source code for its Communicator software. This is the first code source release, still based on the Classic Communicator. Mozilla Classic is still available on the Mozilla.org site.
- 18 May 1998: The US Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general file an antitrust case alleging Microsoft abuses its market power to thwart competition, including Netscape.
- 28 September 1998: According to a study by a market researcher, Netscape cedes browser-share lead to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
- 19 October 1998: Netscape Communicator 4.5 released. Various functioinality improvements, but no new HTML or CSS support. Only Bug fixing.
- November 1998: Netscape 5.0 cancelled in favour of a completely new product, based on new technology (Gecko aka Raptor).
- November 1998: AOL
buys Netscape, Netscape as an idependent company ceases to exist. Mozilla.org
posts the following two statements regarding Mozillas position after
loathing on the merger trail" and "Steve
Case on Mozilla". Also: Thanks
Post-War Period and Decline
- November 2000: Netscape 6.0 "Final" released, based on Mozilla 0.6 - regarded by many as the biggest mistake in Netscape history. Many old users finally switch to Internet Explorer. Market share is dropping even more.
- Feburary 2001: Netscape 6.01 released, based on Mozilla 0.6.
- 2001(?): Netscape's homepage gets a facelift, almost complete shift to entertainment and news portal. Netscape.com now runs on AOL servers, not on Netscape servers.
- August 2001: Netscape 6.1 released, based on Mozilla 0.9.2 - a worthy Netscape 6 releases, over a year after the Netscape 6.0 debacle.
- October 2001: Netscape 6.2 released, based on Mozilla 0.9.4 - it's finally time to switch to Netscape 6.
- December 2001: Netscape 6.2.1 released, based on Mozilla 0.9.4.
- Rumors of the next major Netscape release surface. Codename "Mach V", probably Netscape 7.
- March 2002: Netscape 6.2.2 released. Yet another minor release based on Mozilla 0.9.4.
- April 2002: Preparations for Mozilla's major 1.0 release. Release Candidate 1 is available for download April 19th.
- May 10th 2002: Mozilla 1.0 Release Candidate 2 released.
- May 11th 2002: Netscape 6.2.3 released, based on Mozilla 0.9.4
- May 22nd 2002: Netscape 7.0 Preview Release released, based on Mozilla RC2.
- August 25th 2002: Netscape Communicator 4.8 released.
- August 29th 2002: Netscape 7.0 Final released, based on Mozilla 1.0.1 - Netscape deactivates the Mozilla Popup-Blocker.
- December 10th, 2002: Netscape 7.01 released, based on Mozilla 1.0.2 - Netscape learned the lesson and reinstates the Popup-Blocker.
- December 2002: "Black Wednesday". Mayor layoffs at Netscape headquarters. From the approx. 75 programmers working on Netscape and Mozilla browser software only 6 programmers are left to directly work on Netscape. The rest is either fired or relocated with AOL to work on other things, for example Gecko (HTML rendering engine) or AOL Communicator (Standalone email client).
- 12 January 2003: Steve Case resigns as AOL chairman, but will remain a member of the AOL board.
- 23 January 2003: Netscapes releases an AOL-free
version of Netscape 7.01 (i.e. without the usual addons).
- 18 February 2003: Netscape releases Netscape 7.02, based on Mozilla 1.0.2 - a minor release aimed to fix stability and security problems.
- May 2003: The next major Netscape version is currently under development. Codenamed Buffy, Netscape 7.1 (based on Mozilla 1.4) will probably be released in July or August 2003.
- 29 May 2003: Microsoft is paying $750 million to AOL Time Warner as part of a wide-ranging settlement that also calls for the companies to jointly cooperate on software distribution and digital media. As part of the deal announced Thursday, the companies will drop pending litigation, including an antitrust complaint filed by AOL Time Warner's Netscape Communications unit in January 2002 against Microsoft. AOL also agreed to a seven-year royalty-free license of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. You don't have to be an expert to see that this could basically be the last nail to Netscape's coffin. For more details see http://news.com.com/2100-1032-1011296.html?tag=nl and http://news.com.com/2100-1032_3-1011356.html?tag=fd_top
- 30.06.2003: Netscape 7.1 released!
- 15.07.2003: Mozilla.org gets a new home: The Mozilla Foundation. "The Mozilla Foundation is a new non-profit organization that will serve as the home for mozilla.org. As before, mozilla.org will coordinate and encourage the development and testing of Mozilla code. The Mozilla Foundation will also promote the distribution and adoption of our flagship applications based on that code. AOL, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, and other companies will continue to support Mozilla through the Foundation.
- 15.07.2003: Netscape is dead. Long live Mozilla. Major layoffs at Netscape. The company logo gets removed from the Netscape building. There is no Netscape company anymore, only the brand name is left and in the hands of AOL. A few of the Netscape programmers join the AOL team, but most are fired. A desaster for Mozilla, because many programmers working on Mozilla were paid by Netscape. Netscape 7,1 will probably be the last release.
- January 2004: Netscape has mutated into an Internet Service provider. It supposedly ships with Internet Explorer.
- January 2004: AOL stops selling Netscape CDs and handbooks. Somebody please turn off the lights! http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=13393
- March 2004: According to http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/business/8246846.htm AOL is going to release a new Netscape version.
- End of Netscape? Not End of Netscape? What's on AOL's mind these days? http://news.com.com/2100-7343-5195187.html?tag=nefd.hed
- There will be a new version of the Netscape Suite. Based on Mozilla 1.7, Netscape 7.2 will feature the usual AOL addons. Mozilla 1.7 was released on June 18th 2004.
- On August 17th, 2004, a new version of Netscape was released. This new Netscape 7.2 is based on Mozilla 1.7.2 and features the usual AOL addons. Sadly, only the english language version is available. What's more: shortly after its release some serious security problems were detected in Mozilla 1.7.2 and therefore also Netscape 7.2. Those security bugs were fixed with Mozilla 1.7.3, but so far (September 2004) no update of Netscape 7.2 has been made available. That means, using Netscape 7.2 can not be recommended, which makes Netscape 7.2 the literal dead fish in the water only days after its release. To create Netscape, AOL had to hire external Contractors to do the work (some of them ex-Netscape programmers).
- 30. September 2004: AOL sell the old Netscape server software (Enterprise servers) to Redhat. Redhat plan to release them as Open Source and incorporate the software into its Linux. It looks to me as if Redhat are trying to gain some profit from the name Netscape, which still sounds good to many people on the internet. As a consequence, AOL now have only the rights for the Netscape browser, the portal Netscape.com in their possession.
- Netscape updates their browser with a program based on Firefox. After a release based on Firefox 0.9.3 a second prototype was released in January 2005.
- Netscape is readying their new release. CNET reports that the new Netscape Browser will be released on Feburary 17th 2005. This new browser, by now known as Netscape 8, is supposed to feature special security enhancements, such as anti-fishing mechanisms.
- Netscape 8.0 was released on May 19th 2005. It is largely based on Firefox 1.0.3, but has also the ability to switch to IE's rendering engine ("Trident"). Netscape 8 is produced by a company in Canada for AOL.
- July 2005: Following Mozilla.org's step to discontinue the
MozillaSuite, a small group of free developers announces to continue
working on the Suite. The new project is codenamed "Seamonkey". http://www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/
- August 8th, 2005: The Mozilla Foundation has announced the creation of the Mozilla Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary that will continue the development, distribution and marketing of Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird.
- After finding security problems with the new Netscape 8 browser, AOL/Netscape releases updates. As of writing this, version 188.8.131.52 is the newest version (September 2005).
- September 2005: Rumours about Netscape 9.0 surface.
- March 17th 2006:
Crazy stuff is going on at AOL
headquarters. Check out http://www.valleywag.com/tech/jason-calacanis/exclusive-big-layoffs-at-aol-in-calacanis-takeover-159040.php
And, of course, more lay-offs.
- February 2007:
Netscape is reportedly working on a new version of Netscape, dubbed
"Netscape 9". This new version of the browser will once again be a
standalone product (i.e. lacking an e-mail/news component such as
Netscape used to have up to version 7.x) and will be using Firefox as
its core. "Netscape 9" will be tightly integrated into the user-based
website Netscape.com. Contrary to Netscape 8.x, which was developed by
a third-party company, the new browser is being developed "inhouse",
i.e. there are actually Netscape programmers working on it right now.
Netscape 9 is scheduled to be released in 1-2 months.
For more information visit:
- October 2007: Netscape 9.0RC1 has been released. The new
splash screen sports a classic Netscape 2/3 logo (a good sign?):
The winner of the splash screen design contests.
In other news: The "social" Netscape.com has been relaunched as a classic news portal.
- 28.12.2007: Netscape is dead. AOL has finally shut down Netscape for good. Browser development will seize on February 1st, 2008. The glory that once was Netscape will survive in the name of an internet portal only.
- April 2012: Microsoft buys approx. 800 patents from AOL worth
roughly 1 billion dollars, among these are also patents for the Netscape
What this means for the Mozilla browser and our other products and technologies: more innovation from the open source developers, and a greater focus on end users.
Read the press release and our newsgroup announcement."
Download the old browsers here. Windows versions only (for
Linux and Mac versions visit http://sillydog.org/narchive/)
- JWZ : http://www.jwz.org One of Netscape's main engineers in those days.
- my employer can blow me
- nomo zilla: resignation and post mortem
- netscape and aol
aol, part 2
- People @ Netscape Some links are still alive. Update: looks like the site has been shut down by AOL as of May 30th. Another classic gone, what a shame. I adjusted the link to point to the Internet Wayback machine. (Thanks to Peter Weisenbacher for pointing this out to me).
- Ex-Mozilla.org and Ex-mozilla.org Portal Ex-Netscape employees and what they do today. The entries there give you a glimpse on the real Netscape. Highly recommended!
- The Mozilla Museum Probably the largest collection of Mozilla pictures available on the internet.
- Dave Titus' Homepage Creator of Mozilla (graphics designer)
- Mozilla of the day Automate Mozilla nightly installations