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Catfish and Cod
Thursday, July 17, 2003
 
AOL divorces Netscape
(Link path: Yahoo/PC World/IDG)

The cries of "Netscape is doomed!" coming from the article above are misplaced. Netscape is actually being spun off into a nonprofit organization. The real work on browser design has been in Mozilla for several years now, with Netscape lingering only as a brand name. In fact, Netscape was always just a brand name: Netscape 1.0 was an outright clone of the first web browser, NCSA Mosaic.

However, it is true that AOL-Time-Warner-Turner-Yap!.com is making a gradual strategic shift away from browser development. It appears that AOL management hopes others will join and eventually take the lead on Mozilla development. The Mozilla Foundation is obviously patterned after the Apache Foundation and other successful open-source foundations, and it looks like the open-source community will be supporting it.

And let's face it. Netscape wasn't making squat in terms of the AOL-Time-Warner-Turner behemoth. The whole point of the AOL/Netscape buyout was to integrate Netscape into the AOL experience, an endeavour which has run its course. The world has subdivided: Microsoft and Apple run IE, Linux and other Unixes run Mozilla. Why try to sell Netscape for money anymore?