Netscape Communications was a US-based software company that the Netscape Navigator Web browser developed in 1994 and marketed. After an eventful business, the listed company was merged in 1998 to the value of 4.2 billion U.S. dollars with the company AOL. It was in the group under the name of Netscape Communications continued, but was dissolved on 15 July 2003.


Independent companies

Netscape was founded on 4 April 1994 as Mosaic Communications Corporation of Marc Andreessen, one of the co-developer of the Web browser, NCSA Mosaic, and the computer entrepreneur James H. Clark, who with 9 million U.S. dollars only allowed the establishment. The browser developed by him was brought initially as Mosaic Netscape, then as Netscape Navigator on the market. With the made ​​in November 1994 renamed Netscape Communications Corporation conflicts were avoided with the holders of the rights of NCSA Mosaic.

Netscape went in August 1995 to the Stock Exchange and published in succession more versions of the browser, which now Netscape Communicator was bundled with HTML editor, e- mail and news application. In January 1998, the company launched the Mozilla project to life after Netscape had lost much of its market share due to aggressive and later antitrust abgestraften marketing policy in favor of the Microsoft Internet Explorer.

After this so-called browser war Netscape tried a fresh start, which was made through the acquisition of the company by AOL in November 1998 in question with the Netscape Communicator 4.5 in October 1998.

Development of the AOL Group

Already since 1998 had doubts about the seriousness of AOL to continue the development of the Netscape browser. As AOL Time Warner and Microsoft their dispute over the market displacement of Netscape by Internet Explorer with payment of 750 million U.S. dollars from Microsoft to AOL in May 2003 out of court attached any and AOL unlicensed use of the rendering engine of Internet Explorer for a further seven years was granted an exit from AOL from the Mozilla development seemed likely.

On 15 July 2003 AOL therefore dismissed unsurprisingly the last fifty developers of the browser and presented its financial commitment when a Mozilla project. The rights to the entire Netscape technology, essentially the Gecko rendering engine, and the Bugzilla bug tracker were transferred to the newly created Mozilla Foundation, which AOL also with two million U.S. dollars endowed starting capital. This commitment AOL ended at the active development of the Netscape browser technology.

AOL retained the rights to the brand Netscape and tried since the fall of 2003 under this name in North America to build a second Internet access service.

Development of the software However, AOL has released another version (7.2 ) of the Netscape Communicator in August 2004, which is based on Mozilla 1.7. On 19 May 2005 Netscape 8.0 was released. The completely redesigned browser -based now on Mozilla Firefox, already offered numerous built-in features and gimmicks, but ran counter to the Netscape tradition only on Windows operating systems, as he also used the engine of Internet Explorer. However, the Gecko engine was responsible for the user interface. The browser was a commissioned development of a Canadian software company and was like all versions of Netscape actively marketed only in North America since 2003. In early January 2007 it was announced that Netscape is working on a new version of browser. Unlike Netscape 8 Netscape Navigator 9 was developed in-house again; in tying to old traditions of the browser was again called Navigator. Also Netscape Navigator 9 was based on Mozilla Firefox, but tied differently than version 8 is no longer the Internet Explorer engine, and therefore reappeared for Windows, Mac and Linux. The first final version (9.0 ) was released on 15 October 2007; on December 10, version At the same time it was announced that Netscape is also working on a E-Mail/News-Programm, which will be released under the name of Netscape Messenger; a first alpha was released on 15 November 2007. Netscape Messenger is based on Mozilla Thunderbird.

On 28 December 2007, however, AOL announced to withdraw from the development of the browser and discontinue support for all Netscape browsers on 1 February 2008. The reason given was that the investment for a sufficient advancement in the corporate orientation of AOL did not find a room. It is recommended for users to switch to Firefox and use the extensions provided by Netscape to personalize Firefox in appearance and operation Netscape. The Netscape Support was extended from the AOL daughter until 1 March 2008.


Although Netscape was equated with the browser of the same name, the company made ​​the most money in the B2B sector. In 1994, the first web server, later mail, video conferencing and streaming media servers were added.