The 90s Video Games & Tech


Netscape was the name of a series of Web browsers created by the Netscape Communications Corporation (NCC) in 1994. It was widely used for much of the 1990s, but was quickly challenged by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, beginning the first of several “browser wars.”

NCC was founded in 1994 by Jim Clark and Marc Andreesson, who developed their browser based on the Mosaic model used at the National Center for Supercomputing Application, where Andreesson had worked. Originally intending to work with Nintendo on an online network for the Nintendo 64 system, Clark and Andreesson called their browser the Netscape Navigator. It quickly set itself apart from other freely available Web browsers of the 1990s, as it was the first to load pages “on the fly”; that is, a page’s text and graphics would be displayed as soon as they had loaded, without waiting for everything else on the page to load as well. This greatly increased the speed at which a Web page could be accessed.

Netscape‘s runaway success proved that the browser industry was an untapped market, and other companies began to compete with Netscape for dominance. Microsoft began bundling its Internet Explorer browser with computers running Windows 95 in August 1995, releasing a second version soon after that would work on both PCs and Apple computers. Though Netscape remained superior technically up to that point, IE version 3 the next year outpaced it in performance and speed. Netscape attempted to regain its position with subsequent updates, including a version that included built-in email and news readers, but these programs rendered the browser even slower and caused it to crash often. This was referred to as the first “browser war.”

Having lost its market share to Microsoft, Netscape turned its attentions to other opportunities and began the open source Mozilla project in 1998, which eventually produced the popular browser Firefox. The company was acquired by AOL in 2000 in a deal worth around $10 billion, and continues as an AOL subsidiary today.



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