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Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

AOL Kills Netscape’s Future, Leaves Firefox To Battle IE

December 28th, 2007 by iDunzo

Netscape LogoAOL earlier today stopped development of the Netscape browser, saying the respected brand that launched the commercial Internet in 1994 had little chance of ever regaining market share against its archival Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

The Web portal, which took over Netscape Navigator in the $4.2 billion acquisition of Netscape Communications in 1999, said development on the browser had recently devolved into a “handful of engineers tasked with creating a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions.” Firefox is the open source browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation.

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.

-Tom Drapeau, director of development

While once commanding 90% of the browser market, Netscape Navigator now accounts for less than 1%, and AOL had no interest in spending what it would take to revive the brand.

Instead, the company, which was once a subscriber-supported portal, preferred to spend its resources on its transition into an ad-supported Web business.

The change left “little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be,” Drapeau said.

Instead, AOL said it would leave it to the Mozilla Foundation to do battle against IE. When AOL acquired Netscape, the latter company was working on converting its browser into open source software that was later called Mozilla and became the foundation of Firefox.

Mozilla also was the underpinning of version 6 of the Netscape browser released in 2000. The Mozilla Foundation was formed in 2003 and AOL continued to develop versions of Netscape based on the work of the foundation.

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.

As of November 2007, IE accounted for 77.35% of the market, and Firefox 16.01%, according to Internet metrics firm Net Applications. Netscape had 0.6%.

AOL planned to release security patches for Netscape Navigator 9, the latest version of the browser, until February 1, 2008. After that, all active product support would end for all versions of the browsers.

AOL, however, planned to post a Netscape Archive link for people who wanted to download versions of Netscape without support.

Besides the archive, two other sites offering information would continue to exist: UFAQ and the Netscape Community Forum, AOL said. Netscape.com would also remain live as a general use Internet portal.

The Netscape browser made the commercial Web possible by providing a ubiquitous platform to view and interact with Websites.

The browser was based on the Mosaic browser developed by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina at the University of Illinois. Andreessen and James Clark, former patriarch of SGI, founded Netscape Communications in 1994.

The Web software maker was among the stars in the dot-com era of the mid- to late 1990s, becoming the most successful public stock offering of its time. Netscape Communications forced Microsoft to restructure its entire product line to become Internet compliant.

Microsoft’s tactics in grabbing market share from Netscape Navigator with IE was one of the main issues in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust cast against Microsoft.

Microsoft was found to have abused its Windows monopoly and was forced to make changes in its business practices.

For any users feeling nostalgic for the days of old can install Netscape’s theme and extensions pack for Firefox.

Source: Netscape blog post

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Google-DoubleClick Deal Gets FTC’s Blessing

December 20th, 2007 by iDunzo

After eight long months, the Federal Trade Commission finally approved Google’s $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick in a 4-1 vote, concluding that the deal is “unlikely to substantially lessen competition.”

In its public statement, the FTC explicitly said privacy concerns are not its problem. Privacy issues are “not unique to Google and DoubleClick,” the FTC statement said, and even if they were, the agency denied it could do anything about it.

“As the sole purpose of federal antitrust review of mergers and acquisitions is to identify and remedy transactions that harm competition.

The FTC lacks the legal authority to block the transaction on grounds, or require conditions to this transaction, that do not relate to antitrust.”

The DoubleClick acquisition, announced in April, comes on the heels of a few similar deals from competitors: Yahoo has spent nearly $1 billion building up its advertising arsenal in the last six months.

In July, it closed on its acquisition of Right Media ($650 million) and in October it closed on BlueLithium ($300 million), an online behavioral ad company. Meanwhile, Microsoft bought online ad company aQuantive for roughly $6 billion in August.

The FTC didn’t take nearly as long to approve any of Google’s competitors’ deals. Yahoo closed on BlueLithium in a month, and on Right Media in about three months. And it only took Microsoft roughly three months to complete the aQuantive acquisition.

Privacy groups were quick to chastise the FTC for not probing the privacy angle harder. Jeff Chester, executive director, Center for Digital Democracy, who has been one of the most vocal critics of the deal, is already calling for Congressional oversight hearings into the FTC’s probe of the merger.

“The FTC is supposed to protect the privacy of Americans in the digital age. The excuse offered by the majority of the commission–that consumer privacy can’t be addressed by current antitrust law–reveals a lack of leadership and determination to protect U.S. consumers.”

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Eight top-of-mind innovators to watch in 2008

December 17th, 2007 by iDunzo

They’re all passionate about an idea, an approach, or a technology, and they’re focused on driving it to the next level.

Watch for each of them to be a force for change in their own corner of the tech world.

Meet 8 people who will help shape the business technology world in the coming year:

Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt
With very different approaches, this duo’s dragging the stagnant phone business into the Internet age. Jobs’ Apple iPhone embraces a closed network, and Schmidt’s Google Android platform envisions a wide-open one. Both are forcing change for the better.

Mark Zuckerberg
It’s not Facebook that matters, it’s Facebook thinking. IT will feel growing pressure to provide social networking functions–to customers, along the supply chain, and inside their workplaces.

Mark Hurd
He’s got Hewlett-Packard back atop the PC market. How big a splash can he make in business software? The year ahead will tell.

Ray Ozzie
For a Microsoft exec, Ozzie sure is quiet. That’s fine, but it’s time for his vision of software-plus-services to make some noise. That means delivering some surprising products businesses can put to use.

Sam Palmisano
IBM can’t afford to stand pat in software. After making the company’s biggest acquisition ever this year, count on IBM’s CEO to keep dealing in 2008.

Diane Greene
Microsoft storms the virtualization market next year, along with a growing horde of Xen-based rivals like Sun and Oracle. The VMware CEO is a leader, and this is her toughest test yet.

Charles Phillips
2008 needs to be about new products, as Oracle promises to deliver the first of its Fusion applications, which draw together software from past acquisitions. But don’t expect Oracle’s president, a former Wall Street analyst, to lay off the deal-making.

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Wal-Mart Kills DRM

December 3rd, 2007 by iDunzo

Wal-Mart has ordered record labels to kill off DRM once and for all. The market or at least the one that matters most has spoken.

The mega-retailer is mandating that suppliers provide MP3 versions of everything, according to Billboard. Most have already complied, its article suggests, with Sony BMG the predictable holdout.

Let us forget for a moment that Wal-Mart’s online music store is a joke. When Wal-Mart tells content publishers to jump, they don’t ask how high: they just do it. No-one wants to be taken off that particular shelf.

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EU Rolls Out the Hate on Google, DoubleClick

November 14th, 2007 by iDunzo

Leave it to the European Commission to ruin a good party.

On Tuesday, the antitrust arm of the European Commission nixed approval on Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, citing competitive concerns.

The EU also ordered an in-depth review into the acquisition.

The scale of the deal certainly raises eyebrows — $3.1 billion isn’t chopped liver — but by most estimates, Google grossly overpaid for the company.

DoubleClick’s annual revenue — which reportedly falls short of $200 million — hardly puts a dent in the overall Web ad market, which is estimated to be worth anywhere from $17 billion to $20 billion.

The bigger question is this: Why didn’t the European Commission pick on Yahoo for its $680 million purchase of RightMedia in July 2007?

And what about Microsoft’s $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive in August of this year?

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Online Color Thesaurus

November 2nd, 2007 by iDunzo

Now here’s a great resource for anyone doing a project with color — from graphic designers to homeowners looking to paint their living room.

HP (yeah, the computer company) has launched an online color thesaurus.

It’s pretty easy to use too. All you do is simply type the color name in the text field, hit submit and magically they’ll provide you a list of similar color swatches along with their opposite.

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