We knew it had to happen sooner or later, although many people probably already thought it had happened. Netscape, the browser that helped launch the web as we know it, will be retired.
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. 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. 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.
I haven’t used Navigator 9, myself. The last version I installed was 8. Firefox has been my main browser for the past several years, as it has been for most people looking for an alternative to the slow-to-adapt Internet Explorer. It is sad, though, to see Netscape fade away into the history books. Three cheers for ya, Netscape! You left behind a legacy.