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Thinking Out Loud

July 16, 2003

The Death of Netscape vs. living browsers, analogies to media players,’s new look, web services need browsers.

So. Relevant browsers that will continue: Safari, Mozilla, Opera, and somewhere way down the road, IE/Win. Relevant browsers that will not: IE/Mac and Netscape. Given the tiny market shares for each, in the grand scheme of things, all we’re losing is a false sense of security. Change is inevitable; learn to love it. §

Originally posted to StopDesign.

Other than Internet Explorer, Microsoft has created other utilities that mimic popular software to undercut competition. Windows Media Player has had roughly the same development cycle as the browser, and the only reason I can see that Real, Quicktime, and even Winamp are still around is because of proprietary media formats that the vendors refuse to open.

Ironic, isn’t it? I’m not saying standards killed the competition, but I wonder to what extent Microsoft’s involvement in the W3C will continue from this point. §

The new Mozilla home page is a nice step in a good direction at a critical time. The previous incarnation screamed ‘geek’ louder than a bearded, T–shirt–wearing Perl junkie.

The latest incarnation feels like a well–thought out marketing site, highlighting product features and quoting Time Magazine, Joel Spolsky, and others. Somebody is starting to get it right over there, and if they’d like some volunteer work to polish it even further, all they need do is ask. §

The question begs itself: if web services really are where software is going, why aren’t more software developers making noise against the death of the browser? Avoiding ‘Sharecropping’ logically means supporting open software/standards. Developing for one browser is no different than developing for one operating system. §

Reader Comments

haze says:
July 16, 01h

eeehehh… “smart” + “direction” has never been something we can immediately associate with market trends. think BETA and VHS. lol! ;0)

MikeyC says:
July 16, 08h

While the new is an improvement its just not going to cut it. With Netscape gone, Mozilla must now take the role of end-user browser (Firebird can take Mozilla’s role as developer browser–remember: Mozilla will soon be a rebranded version of Firebird–sound familiar?) and the site really needs to simplify the download process. They have to slap a very prominant DOWNLOAD button at the top somewhere and do what does: detect OS-type and redirect so that users are presented with a single download option for their particular operating system. Someone (on some blog out there) suggested setting up a for end users and leaving as a developer resource…that sounds fine too.

This reminds me a lot of the W3C’s recent redesign and ensuing redesign competition that resulted in some spectacular designs.

Perhaps a redesign competition is in order for Dave, I can’t think of anyone more qualified than you to run such a competition given all the great work you’ve done with CSS Zen Garden. :)

July 16, 11h

Yes, the new is definitely a step in the right direction, but unfortunately traces of geekiness still remain. “Stable Releases”? Come on, Mozilla! Why not use the simple and recognizable “Downloads”?

July 16, 12h

Heh, someone changed that header from “Downloads” :)

July 16, 12h

Oh, that’s so sad.

July 16, 12h

Well the crappy thing about the new Mozilla redesign is that just the day before I had written an entry on why Mozilla needs to redesign their site. I didn’t publish it because there were some more thoughts I wanted to add. Lo and behold they change their site on me. Much better because it helps non-super web users get down to business and download the browser and learn about it.

I think WinAmp is still around because it does one thing really well and doesn’t try to do a million things like Media Player. Real is still around because they have other sources of income and QuickTime because Apple makes it. Also there is no money or threat to Microsoft from the use of these applications like there was Netscape so therefore they don’t need to put that much effort into destroying them. No one makes money off of browsers and no one will make money off an mp3 player.

July 17, 01h

The header has changed back to “Download.”

Jemaleddin says:
July 17, 07h

Hey Dave, they asked: