AOL have officially pulled the plug on the Netscape browser, vowing to discontinue all support as of February 1, 2008, at which time they will also stop releasing security patches for the one time market leading internet browser. During the mid 1990's, Netscape Navigator, codenamed Mozilla during development, had upwards of 60% of the market share of internet browsers. Due to the inclusion of Microsoft Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system this was only 20% by 2000, and 0.6% by 2007.
Aggressive marketing campaigns by Microsoft ultimately saw the end of Netscape. Besides including Internet Explorer (IE) in Windows, Microsoft had invested $150m in Apple to ensure IE was also included in Mac OS X installations. They also convinced internet service providers and computer vendors to include IE instead of Netscape.
AOL acquired Netscape Navigator from Netscape Communications in 1999 for $4.2bn, what Netscape's director of development Tom Drapeau claims to be the companies largest acquisition. A year after the takeover, Netscape 6 was released, the first Mozilla based web browser. Since then, AOL has supported the Mozilla Foundation, and has now pledged its support to Mozilla Firefox, prompting users to switch to the open source client using a Netscape colour scheme which can be found at the Mozilla.org website
Unofficial support sites such as UFAQ.org and the Netscape Community Forum will still continue to provide information and help regarding Netscape, but as far as official support goes, there is none. AOL have stated that archived versions of Netscape will continue to be made available.
People do not realise that if it wasn't for Netscape Navigator there would be no Mozilla Firefox as we know it today. It is sad that this is the end of an era for the internet, although it has been inevitable for quite some time now. There was no way possible that Netscape could recover from it's position with 0.6% of the market share. For Netscape's users, at least they can be satisfied that the Netscape legacy will continue to live on Mozilla Firefox.