Users bid farewell to Netscape Navigator

By Margarita Snegireva. AOL canceled support for Netscape Navigator, but will allow nostalgic users to download archived versions of the browser. Also, AOL will continue to maintain the Netscape website as an Internet portal.

AOL announced Friday that it will shutter support for Netscape Navigator effective February 1, and encouraged the Netscape faithful to make the move to Firefox.

AOL LLC. (formerly America Online, Inc.) is an American global Internet services and media company operated by Time Warner and headquartered in New York, New York. It has franchised its services to companies in several nations around the world, or set up international versions of its services.

"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," wrote Tom Drapeau, director of AOL/Netscape development. "Recently, support for the Netscape browser has been limited to a handful of engineers tasked with creating a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions."

AOL has been battling rivals like Microsoft and Google in an effort to establish itself in the ad-supported Web business, so resources for Netscape are limited, Drapeau said.

Netscape Navigator launched in 1994, and AOL acquired Netscape Communications Corp. five years later. Since that acquisition, AOL has been working on converting the Netscape Communications web suite into the open-source Mozilla browser, which launched in 2003, Drapeau wrote.

Netscape Navigator , also known as Netscape, is a proprietary web browser that was popular during the 1990s. Once the flagship product of Netscape Communications Corporation and the dominant browser in usage share, its user base had almost completely evaporated by 2002, partly due to the inclusion of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser with the Windows operating system, but also due to lack of significant innovation after the late 1990s. Netscape's demise was a central component of Microsoft's antitrust trial, where the court ruled that (among other things) bundling Internet Explorer with Windows was an illegal monopolistic business practice.

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