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
Revenge porn: What is it – and how big is the problem?
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Windows 10: Microsoft bypasses 'Windows 9' to unveil new operating system
The Fappening: After the third wave of leaked celebrity photos, why can't we stop it?
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- 1 Green village to be bulldozed and mined for lignite in Germany's quest for non-nuclear fuel
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
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