July 15, 2003

The End of History, Pt II

That's it, Netscape is dead. However, Mozilla lives on through a $2M grant from AOL/TW, to be paid out over the next two years to the new Mozilla Foundation.

I first wrote about expected changes in The End of History when AOL announced its intention to continue using Microsoft IE technology in its Windows client over its own Netscape Gecko product, spelling the end to the strongest remaining challenge to browser monopoly.

Though I hate to admit it, this was probably a smart move for today's AOL/TW, who reportedly wants to concentrate on its core content business and has enough troubles without charging windmills. AOL locks in the decent enough IE component for seven years (which may be how long it takes for the next version of IE to reach majority use), access to Microsoft DRM tech and distribution with every copy of Windows.

Ultimately, though, Microsoft's MSN is a direct competitor to AOL, and Microsoft's reach begins to extend to the content market as well. Someday (2010?), AOL may find they need to shop elsewhere for a browser engine, and so it is in their best interest to keep an alternative alive: I give you the Mozilla Foundation.

This has perhaps become a common refrain around here, but if you are a developer, you really owe it to yourself to check out Mozilla, now at version 1.4. If you are an end-user, you really owe it to yourself to check out Mozilla, or one of it's variants. If you hate pop-ups, work with lots of windows, want searchable bookmarks...well, you get the idea.

Oh, and if you are wondering what's become of those people who made history, you can find them here.

Posted by Lewis Francis at July 15, 2003 12:52 PM
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