Netscape Navigator, the browser credited with starting the commercial Internet in October 1994, is officially dead. Parent company AOL has announced that all development and support for the product will cease from 1 February 2008.
In its heyday Navigator boasted a 90% market share, but latest surveys indicate that this has dwindled to a mere 0,6% as opposed to Microsoft Intenet Explorer's 77,35% and Mozilla Firefox's 16,01%.
In a company blog, Netscape's Tom Drapeau says the browser is no longer viable.
"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," Drapeau says. "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's focus on transitioning to an ad-supported Web business leaves little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be," he adds. "Given AOL's current business focus and the success the Mozilla Foundation has had in developing critically-acclaimed products, we feel it's the right time to end development of Netscape branded browsers, hand the reins fully to Mozilla and encourage Netscape users to adopt Firefox.
"The Netscape team fully stands behind the fine work being done by the Mozilla Foundation," Drapeau says. "We recommend that you download Mozilla Firefox and give it a try. We know you'll enjoy it!"
After 1 February, Netscape information will still be found at The UFAQ (http://www.ufaq.org/), the Netscape Archive, and the Netscape Community Forum (http://community.netscape.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?webtag=ws-nscpbrowser&redirCnt=1).