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Reader Opinion: Mozilla Needs Netscape

by ERIC MURPHY | Netscape has had a large role in Mozilla; many say too large. However, the large percentage is mostly because of the fact that [few] external engineers have hopped on board to even the balance. I believe this will change over time.

The real need for Netscape is going to show when Communicator 5.0 is ready to go. It is going to be up to them to market this product, and show the world how good it is. I hope the people at Netscape have been spending much time here recently planning their strategies, and not sitting on their butt procrastinating.

I just read an article in MacWeek that says Navigatorís browser share is down to 25%! I found this very disturbing. Obviously what Netscape has been doing has not been working. I have some suggestions for them.

First, embrace the alternate operating systems, namely Mac OS, Linux, and BeOS. These OSes are on the upswing, and any market share they gain with Communicator installed and used along with is also a market share gain for Netscape. Apple is the toughest to crack, as they have that agreement with Microsoft, but not for their upcoming Mac OS X, hint hint. Linux and BeOS are easy - there is not much competition. Heck, Communicator 5.0 for BeOS is only another reason for me to not boot up Windows anymore. I am sure the Linux crowd is going to embrace this software automatically.

Second, Netscape needs to work the ISPs. I know they have been poor about this. At least convince the ISPs to let the users choose on signup. Show them the customizable chrome - that will get their attention.

Third, AOL must dump Internet Explorer from their software. Communicator 5.0 will only make their software faster, more usable, have more features, and be more customizable. Besides, it looks bad for AOL to be using IE instead of Communicator. Why did all this happen in the first place? Just so MS would put the AOL icon on the Windows desktop. Come on! If AOL went to the hardware vendors, they could easily circumvent Microsoft. Leave the lawyers to handle the rest.

Fourth, Netscape needs to be more like Apple and work the education markets. Schools will take most any deal they can get. I am sure Microsoft is not giving them that great of one. Example: Throw in quality software training kits, show them how to use all the software, like the Editor. Show them how to make web pages and upload them. Show them how to give students their own e-mail address and access it in Communicator easily (roaming). Educators would be tickled to death by this stuff. Maybe even send actual people out to see them. Wow!

Fifth, People should be able to get Communicator mailed to them on CD for cheap. No questions asked.

Sixth, let the public know about the superior technical features. They are not as dumb as you think. Let them know about the standards support, and all that a person can do with it. Show them the cool stuff, like the chrome and the translation. I am sure there is much more I am leaving out.

Seventh, get the message out to businesses about the technical superiority of Communicator 5, if it is impressive enough, they will switch. Give them conversion-training kits.

Eighth, put together a decent ad campaign. Maybe do a spoof of the concurrent presidential election. Put together some cool looking graphics (The gecko logo is a good start). Use some imagination!

Ninth, there is infinitely more that can be done. I cannot list it all here. Obviously. Netscape, if you get stuck, hire me, Iíll be glad to work for you.

There are ways for Netscape to make money, too. One obvious example is to use Communcator as a stepping stone to some great NEW server software from Netscape.

I would say that if Netscape fails to promote all the hard work of Mozilla effectively, it would be time to consider putting together a Mozilla promotion department. Hopefully Netscape will surprise us whole-heartedly.

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