The usage share of internet browsers between 1996 and 2019 was a wild ride for sure, hence the name “browser war”. If you’re like me and you grew up in the mid eighties you will remember the Netscape Navigator, it was like the Internet Explorer for the kids who grew up in the nineties – just without illegal market manipulation by Microsoft. This video showcases the growth and fall of the most important tool when it comes to using the internet. The browser.
Make sure to watch the following video that shows the massive changes throughout internet’s history:
As mentioned above it all started with the legendary Netscape Navigator. It was based on a browser named Mosaic, which was co-written by Marc Andreessen, who was working for the University of Illinois.
After he graduated in 1993 he moved to California, where he met Jim Clark. He believed that the Mosaic browser had great potential and provided seed money to start a company. This was the birth of the Mosaic Communications Corporation.
The University of Illinois was unhappy they continued to use the name Mosaic, so the company was soon renamed to Netscape Communications and named its browser Netscape Navigator.
Consumer started to use the internet more and more in the mid-to-late 1990s and Netscape was poised to be the dominant player in the browser sector. A innovation that boosted Netscape’s success even further, was their development of the “on-the-fly-display” of web pages.
It seems like the most obvious thing on the planet to us now, but in the early days of the internet web pages would not display a page until all graphics on it had been loaded. With a 100mbit+ connection these days, this wouldn’t be a big problem either, but back in the days on 56k modem, this was a groundbreaking feature.
Microsoft enters the field and the browser war has begun!
Welcome Micro$oft. Bill Gates and his friends noticed, that the internet was here to say and they wanted a piece of it. We’ve come to learn – Microsoft doesn’t just want a piece, they want the whole pie.
So they started shipping their browser, which they called “Internet Explorer” bundled with Windows 95. Interestingly, the source code was also based on the Mosaic browser.
As we know today Netscape lost the battle against Microsoft, but they had to use their domination in the OS business and had to pay dearly for their actions. But we all know it was worth it in the end, even though the US government almost split up the company in the legendary Microsoft antitrust saga.
But as we know now, the story of the one browser – to rule them – all didn’t end here. Many other competitors came along throughout the years. The most famous ones are: Mozilla Firefox, Opera and of course Chrome by Google.
If you’re interested in the whole browser war and the timeline you can read up on it here. Oh, and if you want to know about another area where Microsoft attacked late and didn’t win – make sure to check out our video about the Best Selling Video Game Consoles in History!