AOL, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Thunderbird

Netscape is dead; long live Mozilla.

Tom just posted the official announcement: As of February 1, 2008, Netscape will no longer exist as a product-producing entity.

“AOL’s focus on transitioning to an ad-supported web business leaves little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be. Given AOL’s current business focus and the success the Mozilla Foundation has had in developing critically-acclaimed products, we feel it’s the right time to end development of Netscape branded browsers, hand the reigns fully to Mozilla and encourage Netscape users to adopt Firefox.

This means end-of-life for all Netscape desktop applications, including Navigator and Messenger. (The Netscape.com portal will still exist as a co-branded AOL service.)

Hindsight being 20/20, AOL should have made this kind of announcement immediately after the Mozilla foundation was established, rather than pitting Netscape against its former self. This is not to say that I didn’t immensely enjoy working on Navigator and Messenger, but I think we can agree that with AOL’s massive Web presence, a little support (and advertising) from them might have meant that Internet Explorer might be trying to dethrone Mozilla as the market leader, rather than the other way around.

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