A-Z of the digital world
Monday 06 May 1996
The licence does ask you to pay if you continue to use it, but this is probably one of the most ignored requests on the Net. As a result, from its launch in April 1994 Netscape rapidly built up an estimated 75 per cent share of the browser market. That's the nice thing about the Internet for companies selling software: the cost of distribution is almost zero.
What's the advantage of a big market share, though, if nobody pays you for your product? The trick Netscape used is that Navigator is not its only product. It also sells "server" programs that run the Web sites that people visit.
Now, if you're a business setting up a Web site, would you go with the Netscape server program, knowing that three out of four people visiting your site are likely to be using its complement, or would you go for something else? And businesses, of course, pay for things.
The result is that Netscape is the biggest success story ever on the Internet. Sixteen months after it was set up, it was floated on Wall Street, where in its first day it was valued at $2.8bn - making one co-founder, Marc Andreessen, worth $58m at once, and his co-founder Jim Clark (also Netscape's chairman) worth a cool $563m.
At that stage Netscape hadn't ever made a profit, though last month it did, for the first time: $4.7m on sales of $55m.
The question now is whether it can keep that going.
Life & Style blogs
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 4 Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
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