RIP: Netscape Navigator dies with a whimper - Macenstein

RIP: Netscape Navigator dies with a whimper


Hey, remember Netscape Navigator?

If you were born after 1988 or so, odds are you don’t. Navigator was the first real web browser for the masses, and gave Microsoft’s Internet Explorer the closest thing to a run for its money any browser was able to in the mid 90’s. All Macs shipped with Netscape Navigator as the default web browser until the infamous 1997 deal between Apple and Microsoft which swapped out Navigator for Internet Explorer for the next 5 years. Netscape was eventually bought by AOL in ’99, who pretty much killed it when it decided adopt its ad supported business model, but not before spinning off the open source Mozilla Foundation which gave birth to the excellent Firefox web browser.

In a sort of “Oh, they were still alive?” kind of way, I was somewhat shocked to read that AOL has announced that Navigator has been officially pronounced brain-dead, and will be taken off life support on February 1st.

So, what does this mean for Mac user? Well, nothing, quite frankly.
If you can find a Mac user running Navigator you can make some good “Big Foot”-type money providing photographic evidence of such a mythical creature. In fact, my Windows-using dad is the last person I ever heard of using the Communicator suite of apps, and I think even he gave that up in ’05. But still, Navigator more or less gave birth to all modern web browsers, and as when a celebrity passes who hasn’t made a good movie in 35 years, seeing a once-glorious name in technology adorning a virtual tombstone should give pause to all tech geeks, irrespective of their OS.

I know I for one will never forget where I was when I heard the news of Navigator’s death… I was watching Underworld: Evolution, eating Doritos in my boxers, and looking for Apple related news on the internet… in Safari.

12 Responses to “RIP: Netscape Navigator dies with a whimper”
  1. Richard Neal says:

    I was born in ’92, and I have fond memories of using Netscape on my dad’s Power Macintosh 5400.

  2. Rowlings says:

    Those memories can’t be too fond. There wasn’t even internet porn yet!

  3. There’s ALWAYS been porn on the internet. It almost pre-dates man himself.

    -The Doc

  4. Van Souza says:

    It is in deed and in fact a dark day. But Netscape lives on in Firefox. Netscape was always the browser that just worked.

  5. widgetboy says:

    underworld:evolution is a great flick. i think it was better than the first one.

  6. Jon Thomas says:

    I have to say, it is about damn time, the company I am working for uses the entire suite for email and web browsing and will not change. I have worked as a IT Technician in the past, I have to say it was the worst suite to configure.

    RIP Netscape Navigate … I would like to say I will miss you, but I would be lying.


  7. Zorin says:

    Hate to say it, but you goofed; the Color Classic in that photo is running Internet Explorer. Note the menu bar; Netscape has always called them “Bookmarks”. Also, the icon on the upper right that shows the running app is not the famous N.


  8. strony www says:

    There’s ALWAYS been porn and all this stuff on the internet, nhis is normal, i dont like porn but sam people like it LIVE

  9. cms says:

    Netscape Navigate is much better then mozilla realy. FF is killer for my internet

  10. MikeG says:

    Your history’s a bit off, but I believe the image is right — the version just predates the animated “throbber” icon.

    As I remember it, Netscape (the financial venture) grew out of a Mozilla (a USF open source project), both out WAY before IE, which was another Gates-ian ploy to force competing software out of the market.

  11. t-shirts says:

    Of course I remember Netscape Navigator. I was also surprised to hear they were still going on. I see that they’ve now turned into a social bookmarking tool… interesting.
    Yep, Netscape was there before Internet Explorer, and I remember using it on Windows back in the day before they came up with the brilliant idea of, “hey, let’s just do the same thing and ship it with Windows 95 and 98.” Pretty much, they copied the idea and then just shipped it with Windows, getting the Apple deal, and totally killing Navigator. At the time, they really pulled some awfully bad moves on them.
    But we’re thankful to Navigator, for sure… for now I surf the web on FireFox. Second to Opera, of course, but I certainly don’t use IE (and I now run on Linux anyway!)

  12. This is really sad. Although IE and FF are the famous browsers nowadays, I was still hoping that the ones which existed last time were still alive. But the fact that change is constant in the World Wide Web, for Netscape to exist despite of all competitors it should be:
    1. Managed by an excellent management
    2. Constantly upgraded
    3. Be made known to all that it still exists and the people behind it are constantly working

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