AOL shuts down Netscape web browser

Netscape Navigator, the world's first commercial web browser and the launch pad of the internet boom, will be pulled off life support February 1 after a 13-year run, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Netscape's current caretakers, Time Warner's AOL, decided to kill further development and technical support to focus on growing the company as an advertising business. Netscape's usage dwindled with Microsoft's entry into the browser business, and Netscape all but faded away following the birth of its open-source cousin, Firefox.

'While internal groups within AOL have invested a great deal of time and energy in attempting to revive Netscape Navigator, these efforts have not been successful in gaining market share from Microsoft's internet Explorer,' Netscape director Tom Drapeau wrote in a blog entry.

In recent years, Netscape has been little more than a repackaged version of the more popular Firefox, which commands about 10% of the web browser market, with almost all of the rest going to internet Explorer, the report said.

People will still be able to download and use the Netscape browser indefinitely, but AOL will stop releasing security and other updates on February 1. Drapeau recommended that the small pool of Netscape users download Firefox instead, the report further said.