Friday, December 28, 2007

Netscape Brand Dies: RIP

Most of the people that read this will have no clue what or who Netscape is. But Netscape and its founders changed the world as we know it today. And on February 2008, the Netscape brand will be shutdown. All 'old school' computer geeks, I'm sure will be saddened by this. Netscape brings memories.

In the beginning...

In the beginning, the online world was small. A handful of bulletin board systems created ad hoc communication networks (ie: FidoNet) across the world, connecting thousands if not millions of users thanks to volunteers, hobbyists, and scientists. During this time, Prodigy and CompuServe were still existing and were young companies. They too wanted to connect people with their computers and 300 baud modems, but their idea was to charge monthly rates.

The hypertext world (The World Wide Web), created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, was still in its infancy. Nobody wanted to use it because it wasn't easy. It wasn't friendly.

But something happened.

Uber-geeks came to the forefront of innovation. Marc Andreessen and his friends at the newly formed Mosaic Communications Corp, created Netscape. It made web browsing so easy, so unique, and so much fun. Gone were the ANSI graphics, the boring door games and the monochrome colored text found in BBS systems.

The World Wide Web became a new home for those hungry for change online, inviting other geeks to come and see the glorious colors of hypertext and the wonders of GIF layered animation (Flash was just a forethought). The Internet before Netscape was a puzzle. But in the end, Netscape could not last a fight against the Microsoft giant. They took notice of Netscape's rise and created their own web browser. Bill Gates even admitted they did not take the Internet too seriously until Netscape came along.

Thanks to Netscape, competition began and web innovation took off. The magic we all enjoy, the things we all see today on our computer monitors, on our Web TVs, our PS3 browsers, XBox Live graphics...all of it could be traced back to Netscape. It may not have been everyone's favorite browser (1 out of 10 didn't like it), but it helped in the Internet revolution.

Goodbye Netscape, may you rest in peace.

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