Netscape lives?

by Joe Gillespie — May 1, 2004

I used to be very fond of a good horror movie. I'm not talking about the Freddie-come-latelies but the classic Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman and 'living dead' movies that are now being resurrected by Universal Studios to support the new Van Helsing blockbuster.

Reports this week tell of the necrotic hand of yet another monster breaking unhallowed soil to grasp at the full moon.

The return of the Son of the Daughter of Netscape Seven rises from the dead, rides again, meets Abbott and Costello, the sequel - TWO, is about to hit the screen!

Even after cancelling all work on the browsers and paying off the development team, it looks like AOL is about to resurrect Netscape based upon the open-source Mozilla 1.7 – but with all the extra bloat that the consumers clamour for – mail, newsgroups, chat, tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking. Yes folks, it's the Kitchen Sink from Twenty Thousand Fathoms and everybody is perched on seat-edge in nail-biting anticipation – or am I mistaking snoring for roaring?

They have also been beta testing something called Netscape Desktop Navigator that offers local content based upon the user's zip code. Interesting. Zzzz.

If AOL was really committed to keeping Netscape alive, why did it continue to supply Internet Explorer to its subscribers for so many years? Why has it played dead? That technique is often used to confuse predators but what is the logic behind confusing local customers? Or should that be loyal customer?

Well, it would be nice if Netscape could claw back some market share at the expense of the half dead, but still kicking IE, but AOL will have to try an awful lot harder to breathe life back into that particular brand.

By the way, any resemblance between the cute and cuddly Mozilla and a certain other classic Japanese monster is purely coincidental. Imposing as it is, its waddling gait and feeble roar are not really going to set the World on fire.

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