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Netscapa Adorabilis

Family : Browser software publisher, portal site
Sub-family : PC software, general portal

Marc Andressen and Jim Barksdale are two symbolic figures in the history of Internet, as they transformed a browser software into a model for a whole generation of Web entrepreneurs. In 1994, when Marc Andressen joined the team that created Mosaic, a freeware (free software) which made surfing the Web possible, little did he know that he would be leading an revolution against Bill Gates and Microsoft a few years later. And yet, by developing a commercial browser, Netscape Navigator, and distributing faster than any previous software, thanks to a skilful marketing policy (downloading is free and so is its use by universities, but no check ups are run on other users), he showed that he had understood the lever effects of the digital economy. The marginal difference is information distribution.

In less than a year, he managed to integrate his browser onto the vast majority of computers connected to the Web. Navigator became a standard feature. And yet, the company soon saw that it could not hope to base its development on the sale of its browser. It realised that it was better to use it as a shop window to sell other products, and soon those products began to multiply : Web servers, e-mail providers, electronic commerce providers, Intranet products and network security began to generate an increasingly large part of its income.

The dazzling success of this business provoked one of the first bursts of Internet fever on the NASDAQ in 1995. There were some who even imagined that the newcomer which had made such an impact on its main competitor, Microsoft - which still insisted on pushing MSN, its private network - could join the closed circle of those two or three companies which controlled the computer industry. But Microsoft's formidable response forced the company to modify its strategy. The browser war was declared. And Netscape had the richest man in the world against him.

As its market share crumbled little by little and obliged Netscape to make its browser free in early 1998, to reveal its access code and allow its browser to be copied, in order to keep in line with the market. In spite of everything, the prediction is that Navigator will lose the browser war.


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If you enjoyed this site, we obviously share values: we have written it in 1999 !

We haven't updated it online as the vision still is more and more relevant: the more the internet matures, the closer it gets to our vision.

We still believe in innovation, creativity, rigour and results control.

Contact us if you need webmarketing services:

Raphael Richard, founder

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