Netscape to be discontinued

AOL, the owners of the Netscape internet browser, has said it will not be offering support for the application after 1 February 2008.

The move, according to the company that bought the browser in 1999 is due to a lack of users.

"AOL's focus on transitioning to an ad-supported web business leaves little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be", the company said in a statement.

At the height of its popularity in the mid-1990s, the internet browser was used by almost 90% of internet users, but following stiff competition from Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Apple's Safari, and the switch to the open source browser Firefox, numbers have dwindled to under 1%.

According to AOL, in a statement on the Netscape Blog: "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".

The statement goes on to say: "Recently, support for the Netscape browser has been limited to a handful of engineers tasked with creating a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions".

Finishing with the following: "Given AOL's current business focus and the success the Mozilla Foundation has had in developing critically-acclaimed products, we feel it's the right time to end development of Netscape branded browsers, hand the reins fully to Mozilla and encourage Netscape users to adopt Firefox".