Microsoft Pays Netscape $750 Million to Settle Antitrust Suit

Thursday May 29th, 2003

Several people wrote in to tell us that Microsoft has agreed to settle the private antitrust suit filed against it by Netscape Communications Corporation last year. Microsoft will pay AOL Time Warner, Netscape's parent company, $750 million to end the litigation. In a related agreement, Microsoft will give AOL a seven-year royalty-free license to use Internet Explorer and a long-term license to use its Windows Media 9 Series technology. The two giants have also agreed to work together on digital media initiatives and establish interoperability between the AOL Instant Messenger and MSN/Windows Messenger networks. In addition, Microsoft will give AOL more technical information about Windows and help AOL to distribute its software to some PC vendors.

CNN/Money, CNET and all have articles about the settlement. More details are available in Microsoft and AOL Time Warner's joint press release.

Update! Further reports are available from Slashdot, MSNBC, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, InternetNews, ENT News, EE Times and the Associated Press (via InformationWeek). Meanwhile, CNET asks if the IE licensing deal means the end of Netscape.

Another Update! CNET now has an entire special coverage section on the deal, which includes a longer updated main article. The report has also been revised and other stories can be found at Wired News, BetaNews and Reuters.

Another Update! Microsoft's PressPass site has a transcript of a press conference call with Microsoft's Bill Gates and AOL Time Warner's Richard Parsons, which has been extensively referred to by many media reports. A collection of soundbites from Bill Gates is also available.

Another Update! Matt Kraai writes: "Salon is carrying an article on the Microsoft/AOL TW settlement and its effect on Mozilla. I found it via Boing Boing." To read the article, you'll either have to subscribe to Salon Premium or view a short ad, which will give you access to Salon for the day.

#1 Re: Microsoft Pays Netscape $750 Million to Settle

by efti

Thursday May 29th, 2003 6:05 PM

Any word yet from inside Netscape on how this is going to affect Mozilla / Gecko?

#4 The End of Netscape?

by geraldb

Thursday May 29th, 2003 6:23 PM

I guess the Mozilla party is over.

#6 Re: Microsoft Pays Netscape $750 Million to Settle

by efti

Thursday May 29th, 2003 6:37 PM

If AOL/TW stops funding the Mozilla project through Netscape it will most certainly set back Mozilla development. It will not kill it off though. It may have if this happened around the time Mozilla was around 0.8 or still in the milestone stages. But now the community and other companies that depend on Gecko would keep development going.

Of course we can always hope that AOL will end up using Gecko over IE. Humans have mastered flight over a hundred years ago. It's time for pigs to follow suit ;)

#8 The End of Netscape?

by geraldb

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:12 PM

> I guess the Mozilla party is over.

Just to clearify: What I meant was that Time Warner will stop funding Mozilla. Mozilla will live on.

#59 Re: The End of Netscape?

by erickleung

Friday May 30th, 2003 10:41 PM

But is not GPL. There must be an owner of and related source code. To my understanding the owner is AOL/TW.

If AOL/TW or the mozilla owner stops the project, who could restart the mozilla?

#63 Re: Re: The End of Netscape?

by james

Saturday May 31st, 2003 6:01 AM

Firstly, mozilla is (disjoint) dual licensed under GPL and MPL, in fact. Secondly, AOL/TW does not own all the moz code (there are external contributors). Thirdly, the MPL doesn't allow AOL/TW to terminate everyone's mozilla license just because it doesn't want to work on the codebase anymore.

#2 Well guess it confirmed what we all really knew

by cgonyea

Thursday May 29th, 2003 6:12 PM

We all suspected that AOL was leverging Netscape in order to get a favorable deal from Microsoft. Now it's official.

Very interested to see how this affects AOL's contribution to Mozilla.

#3 The End

by jorge

Thursday May 29th, 2003 6:21 PM

Well so much for the Netscape browser. I think that is why Mozilla is trying to create a name for itself with Firebird. They knew the end of Netscape was soon to come. I did not think it was possible but Microsoft finally killed Netscape off. RIP.

#5 Re: The End

by IsoSchi

Thursday May 29th, 2003 6:29 PM

Seems a bit premature to assume that. Although my first fear was also that this would mean an end to embedding Gecko within AOL.

Can anyone confirm this though? It seems to me to be rather a waste to have built Gecko up to the standard it's at now, just to let it fall by the wayside.

More importantly though, how many of the top Mozilla developers still work for Netscape? Seems to me many of them work elsewhere. Then again, it also seems that a couple of them have recently joined Netscape's ranks...

So I wouldn't yet assume Netscape is dead. This could just as easily just be the first step in a Netscape comeback!


#24 The agreement

by pkb351

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:34 PM

Nowhere in the any of the articles including the AOL/MS press release does it state that the agreement mandates that AOL must use IE. MS may be thinking that they put one over on AOL. Just wait. MS has to provide AOL with OS details and use the Windows desktop to promote AOL software. I am of the belief (keeping my fingers crossed) that the next version of AOL's software will include Gecko.

Why do I feel this way?->

1. For one thing I.E. and Media Player are not really cross platform and MS has no intention to make its software work better on any other platform. Have you ever tried to use I.E. on the Mac? It is awful. No wonder Safari was developed. Sure the mac platform may only have ~5% of all users, maybe as high as 10% if you only count home users. Many Mac users have selected Apple for its ease of use software and this is just the type of user who would select AOL. With AOL desperately trying to keep its user base would AOL opt for software which potentially might alienante/turn away 5 to 10 percent of its users?

2. MS can not be trusted. Why would AOL become anymore dependent on MS software and technologies with the history the company has of not fully living up to past agreements it has made. Has MS really conceeded the online market to AOL. What are MS's plans for MSN? Could a year into the agreement couldn't MS make I.E. and MS Media Player work better with MSN than AOL. If MS does this the only option for AOL would be to take them to court. MS doesn't really care if they are sued. It is likely AOL would welcome another cash donation to drop another suit.

I believe AOL will not trust MS to screw them if AOL becomes too dependent on MS software. This is why I believe the next version of AOL will include Gecko. As to the question as to why Gecko has not been included in AOL software, other than for the Mac? I look at it this way. AOL had to make it look as though it was seriously testing Gecko for mass roolout completely replacing IE. Thus the Mac used Gecko. AOL would not have the same barganing power with MS in this suit if it had rolled out Gecko for Windows as well as the Mac; AOL had to continue to use I.E. Now that AOL has negotiated this deal, a deal where Microsoft is obligated to promote AOL software on its OS desktop, can AOL finally rid itself of most of its ties to MS and IE and roll out AOL software based on Gecko. Now MS will have to compete more or less fairly with AOL. No more tricks with their software, such as making IE work much beteer on MSN.

I hope I am right. In any case, AOL is sure to keep Gecko development moving forward just in case MS pulls a dirty trick on them . AOL will at the least keep Gecko updated and current in case they have to quickly switch over to Gecko for their browser engine. Who would trust MS to live up to an agreement given their history. AOL better keep Gecko/Firebird around and updated for insurance if they do not switch to Gecko and actually go for IE.

#27 AOL 9.0 Based on IE

by sedination

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:52 PM

I read that the beta version of AOL 9.0 that just been released is still based on IE.

#39 Re: AOL 9.0 Based on IE

by thelem

Friday May 30th, 2003 7:52 AM

There is a beta of AOL9 already? AOL8 has only just come out.

Just because the beta is based on IE does not mean the final version will be based on IE. But it probably will.

I'm hoping that AOL have only got the IE for 7 years thing so they keep their options open.

As for Netscape, that never really had anything to do with the AOL client. AOL would have been free to develop just their own rendering engine if they had wanted to, but they chose to develop Netscape. After years of everyone I know using IE, I'm finally coming across people (ok, techies) using Netscape or Mozilla without me even mentioning it. If the techies are using it, then they will start installing it on the friends/parents/grandparents computers too. At least I hope they will.

#28 AOL not using Gecko in next version or two...

by tseelee

Thursday May 29th, 2003 9:01 PM

...but I think you've some good points there, and hope you're right. Let's keep hoping that the AOL execs have some sense. The world, seriously, needs it.

#61 Re: The End of Netscape?

by erickleung

Friday May 30th, 2003 10:59 PM

As the browser war is finally ended with the AOL/M$ agreement. What is the point for a commerical company to continue the investment on a non-profit project?

Since most of home users' computers were pre-installed with windows system which are IE only or preferred, and we have 7 years agreement with IE, AOL just has no more incentive to promote mozilla/Gecko browser.

The only hope of mozilla might be rely on the success of the Linux Desktop which is the only land not yet invaded by IE!

My $0.02

#68 Mac might be invaded, but MS is losing...


Monday June 2nd, 2003 8:08 AM

> The only hope of mozilla might be rely on the success of the Linux Desktop which is the only land not yet invaded by IE!

Well the only platforms that really have IE is Windows and Mac, and on Mac IE is losing ground quite fast to Gecko and Safari/khtml. So very likely, the only place where you will be able to find IE in a not too distant future will be on windows systems, which is it self losing worldwide market share.

In light of this the Gecko engine being cross OS places it in a very favorable position vs IE (especially since MS have now decalerd that IE 6.01 will be the LAST EVER standalone IE version).

#72 Must update OS to Update IE

by pkb351

Monday June 2nd, 2003 8:58 PM

If users will not be able to update to the next version of IE without purchasing a new version of Windows, then IE is no longer free. If users want advanced features, beyond what IE 6 offers, such as tabbed browsing, pop up blocking, etc. then more users will look to browser alternatives. Hopefully this is were Gecko will fill the void. How many users will be happy when they find out they cannot update their browser? Hopefully users will switch to an alternative browser.

If AOL releases its next version of AOL using IE, will there have to be more than on version--one for those using pre-Longhorn Windows and another version of AOL for Longhorn. Will each new version of Windows break AOL software. Another reason for AOL to switch to Gecko for Windows.

#7 Don't whether to stop using Mozilla for website?

by jorge

Thursday May 29th, 2003 6:57 PM

I need some advice. I currently design my webpage to look great on both Mozilla and IE. Should I abondon Mozilla? I hate to do it, but all this negative press against Netscape/Mozilla is getting to me.

#9 Re: Whether to stop using Mozilla for website?

by schapel

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:16 PM

You should design to the standards, not for any particular browser. Don't worry if the page doesn't look exactly the way you intended it to in every browser. There's no way you can try your page in every version of every browser on every OS with every resolution and color depth setting.

Here's what to do:

1. Design your page while looking at it in your favorite browser.

2. Validate the page to ensure it adheres to web standards, and use tools like the JavaScript console to ensure there are no JavaScript errors or warnings.

3. Try the page in some other popular browsers -- IE, Mozilla, Opera, and Safari or Konqueror if possible. If some browser does not show the page correctly, you can try to work around the problem, but always be sure to report the bug.

After you've done this, there's a decent chance your page will look good for nearly every visitor. If you test in only IE and don't ensure the page adheres to standards, you lose the risk of turning away 5-20% of your visitors depending on the content of your site.

#12 Wow

by user4321

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:28 PM

I'm so used to mindless foaming at the mouth happening here these days, this caught me off guard. It's actually good advice. Really good advice. Who'da thunk it?

#10 Not the End, it's the beginning.

by jedbro

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:20 PM

I don't see how this is negative. This is a good thing for AOL/Netscape. Now they have every reason to keep the developers on their payroll and use microsofts money to kick their own ass.

Unless AOL is stupid, they will not give in to a MS/IE dominated world. IE is the key for getting AOL on desktops, but mozilla is the key for other platforms.

I think this is a very very good thing. --Jed

#11 Re: Not the End, it's the beginning.

by schapel

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:25 PM

I was about to post something similar. I would imagine that $750 million will pay for Mozilla development costs from the beginning and for years to come. We all get this great browser for free, and M$ foots the bill. And this is bad how exactly?

#14 Money

by jorge

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:33 PM

The last organization that money will be going to is Mozilla. The money will be used to pay off AOL's debt.

#19 Re: Money

by schapel

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:54 PM

Doesn't matter. Let's say I buy a $500 suit and wear it to a job interview and it impresses my interviewees and I get a sweet job. With my earnings, I buy a Ferrari. The money from my employer did not pay for my suit, but still I can consider that the suit was more than paid for by my salary.

Whatever money AOL spent on Mozilla development, they're getting it back. It doesn't matter where it goes now.

#21 Problem is ...

by bandido

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:03 PM

AOL-Time Warner is the one who at the end will dispose the money (directly or indirectly) because we all know how management changes at the corporation has resulted in AOL-Time Warner executives been replaced by non AOL ones.

Now is the time for Sun (or IBM or even Red Hat) to buy Netscape just to insure MS does not have an absolute hold on the way the web is seen. Red Hat is important to the equation because they are a big proponent of Gnome which uses Mozilla, Galeon and soon Epiphany (GNOME is dropping Galeon for upcoming Gnome 2.4) KDE centric Linux distros and Apple use Konqueror engine, so no hope to getting from that side.

#23 Not happening.

by jorge

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:22 PM

AOL will not sell Netscape because it has converted the name as its main Internet portal. So we are stuck.

#34 Might happen

by bandido

Friday May 30th, 2003 5:13 AM

Huh? AOL site is still AOL site. Netscape portal and the entire Netscape side of the business can be sold to some suitable party. Why is that impossible? AOl-Time Warner keeps saying they want to reduce their debt load which is very close to $30 billion. How do you think they are going to do that? 1) they will sell or divest out of most of the cable TV delivery companies they own or partially own (not necessarilly the cable channels like CNN, etc which they are going to keep), 2)Sell units that are not essential to their business line (Netscape, etc.), 3)Cost cutting (layoffs, increase efficiencies, reduce overhead expenses, etc.); 4) Increase revenues (advertising, collaboration, marketing agreements, e-commerce, stabilize subscription base, etc)

People tend to think when a company is not doing well financially they will sell bad business lines. On the contrary, sometime they are better off selling "crown jewels' from where they can raise more cash. (BTW, AOL is still very profitable, problem is they are not growing enought to satiate corporate/stockholders greed/return on investment). Maybe now is the time for S. Case and some other investors to buy back AOL out of Time Warner. Am sure Time Warner will resist selling AOL division because they would be selling it at a low stock price after they merged a few years back when AOL was at a high stock price. (There are plenty of precedents for companies buying at higher price and selling later at a depressed price; e.g Novel buying WordPerfect for several hundred millions dollars and then selling it to Corel for a fraction of what they'd paid.)

#41 Re: Might happen

by thelem

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:08 AM

Because the site would be better named ''

#49 Re: Re: Might happen

by pbreit

Friday May 30th, 2003 2:34 PM

I doubt they're too unhappy with, and

#48 Except for!

by pbreit

Friday May 30th, 2003 2:30 PM

Except for!

#70 Buying Netscape


Monday June 2nd, 2003 8:25 AM

> Now is the time for Sun (or IBM or even Red Hat) to buy Netscape just to insure MS does not have an absolute hold on the way the web is seen

Um, why would anybody have to buy NS?

Mozilla and the Gecko engine is the property of NOT Netscape. That is, Netscape took steps already 5-6 years ago to ensure that noone (ie MS) could just buy out the competition. If you are talking about who will pay the programers sallaries, well IBM at least already have several fulltime employees working with Moz code.

#22 Sick, Sick, Sick, Sick!!!

by zookqvalem

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:06 PM

It doesn't look very good. We should not be bowing to IE or everything we work for would be gone to waste. We need World Standard Code and perhap Gecko technology. IE can't accomplish this and yet it is still buggy and filled with some security holes... Now that AOL had bowed to IE, so it will be taking longer for the non-IE browser to take over the world with more than 50% of the world share...

#65 The interesting details ...

by johann_p

Saturday May 31st, 2003 4:19 PM

What is really interesting is what *other* details are in the deal, e.g. what commitments AOL actually made to adopt MS-technology. If they made commitments, they are history. If, on the other hand, they just use the $750M as war money to come up with something *innovative*, they might have a teeeeeeeny chance to survive :)

#13 AOL is DUMB!

by tseelee

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:33 PM

IM interoperability?? They've still a monopoly in AIM and ICQ. WMP9? They've a great competitor in Real! And most importantly, using IE for 7 years?? Firebird's FASTER than IE. Did these execs ever used their own products?

This isn't corporate strategy. It's plain stupidness.

#40 Re: AOL is DUMB

by thelem

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:05 AM

AOL don't have a monopoly on AIM/ICQ. Nearly everyone I know used MSN messenger and when I give them my ICQ, AIM and Yahoo accounts they say "don't you have MSN?"

AOL don't own real, they are just on good terms

As far as I can tell, AOL haven't comitted to using IE for 7 years, they have just got the right to if they want to. If they do switch to Gecko they may want to leave IE in as an option anyway.

#46 Re: AOL is DUMB

by Squire72

Friday May 30th, 2003 1:04 PM

MSN messenger is a horrible product - the ONLY thing it has going for it is it's less bloated than ICQ...

regardless, AOL IM is used by far more people than MSN/Windows IM, and it's a far better product.

#69 There is also ICQ-lite


Monday June 2nd, 2003 8:13 AM

> the ONLY thing it has going for it is it's less bloated than ICQ...

Well, you probably havn't been at the ICQ download site in a while. Check out ICQ lite if the bloating is a concern for you. :)

#15 Money

by jorge

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:35 PM

It is all about money.

#16 Monopoly

by zzxc

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:44 PM

This settlement is clearly abuse of monopoly and should be blocked. There is no way that the world's largest monopoly should be able to "join forces" with the largest media company.

#18 Tell Bush about it.

by tseelee

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:48 PM

FCC chairman, son of Colin Powell (yep, another mini-dynasty in the increasingly stratified American oligarchy), supports further media consolidation through relaxation of ownership rules. I don't want to get started about it, so I'll stop now.

#45 (Untitled)

by Neon

Friday May 30th, 2003 12:11 PM

take it to alt.politics.ihatebush

#56 Re: (Untitled)

by tseelee

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:36 PM

It's on-topic, and this is supposed to be a free country still.

#29 Remember who stopped THE antitrust suit?

by tseelee

Thursday May 29th, 2003 9:03 PM

After fighting so hard, Bush came into the White House, and gets the case settled when the People WERE winning. Remember that sad history? It's all Bush's fault.

#53 Re: Remember who stopped THE antitrust suit?

by zookqvalem

Friday May 30th, 2003 7:31 PM

Why is it all Bush's fault? Most of the articles point to between Microsoft and AOL that work it out and came to an agreement of some sort. SUN and Microsoft aren't even close to an aggreement and Bush and nothing to do wtih it etiher. It's all in your head!

#57 Re: (Untitled)

by tseelee

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:37 PM

Let's see. If Bush hadn't stopped the suit, we could've kept much more of the original court's definitely not in my head. I'm sure Bush had the thought, too. Or maybe his minions did.

#17 Parsons NOT disbanding Netscape!!!

by tseelee

Thursday May 29th, 2003 7:44 PM

From the InternetNews link, Parsons said "there were no plans to disband his own Netscape division." So why are they using IE again?

#47 Re: Parsons NOT disbanding Netscape!!!

by tny

Friday May 30th, 2003 2:24 PM

It said they're not disbanding the Netscape division. Did it say anything about Netscape the Browser? Understand this: what is in the best interests of AOL/TW and what is in the best interests of Mozilla intersects, if at all, on in a few places; and AOL/TW's management will do what is best for AOL/TW's stockholders, not what's best for the Mozilla community.

Predictions: AOL for Windows will continue to be based upon IE for 9.0 and 10.0 . AOL for OS X will continue to be based on Gecko. Netscape the Corporation will continue to move its resources toward the portal strategy that has failed them lo these many years, because AOL/TW management is media-oriented and don't see the point in having a software client except as a way to move eyeballs to their content. Netscape the Browser, at least on Windows, will die the death of a thousand cuts as resources are shifted to Mozilla for OS X or other non-Mozilla projects. Eventually, the AOL client on OS X will adopt Webcore, Netscape will stop releasing new browsers (a return to the eternal 4.7xxx days) and Mozilla will become defacto a RedHat/IBM project. I'd be happy to be demonstrated wrong, but that's my immediate thought.

#20 Whatever

by Tanyel

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:03 PM

It would have been nice if this agreement happened years ago, when Netscape was a corporation itself and needed resources to improve its browser. Now that Microsoft has won, the loss of money is a relatively small setback for them. They will gain the money back with their monopolistic/satanic tactics.

America Online should have settled for something better than the use of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player. These are things Microsoft wants. Now AOL is helping Microsoft defeat RealNetworks. I wonder if AOL's choice to abandon its agreement with RealNetworks was due to the promise of a monetary reward from Microsoft.

#25 Re: Whatever

by AlexBishop

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:34 PM

"Now AOL is helping Microsoft defeat RealNetworks. I wonder if AOL's choice to abandon its agreement with RealNetworks was due to the promise of a monetary reward from Microsoft."

AOL haven't necessarily abandoned their deal with RealNetworks; the Windows Media agreement is non-exclusive. That said, AOL do seem to be moving away from Real recently, with deals such as the one with Dolby to use AAC (the same codec that's used by Apple's iTunes Music Store) for Radio@AOL.


#58 Real?

by smkatz

Friday May 30th, 2003 9:08 PM

I have some real life experience with codecs.

I don't believe that Windows Media has volume control (volume levels are not precoded.) MPEG has this feature. Quicktime may be the best choice in this arena.

Real.. is noticably inferior to Windows Media. (not really anymore..used to be.)

That said, long live competition. It helps. Real does have a very atrractive subscription plan--so does Yahoo platinum. Many people say Real has a nasty habit of billing people unawares ("free trials") They have fixed this.. but my father was a victim. Their latest software (which isn't as bad as people think.. although the ads are horrendous.. and its slow to start.. it does give you a clear choice via radio button and tells you exactly when you will be charged.. if you choose the platinum (pay) plan.)

#73 They left out the most interesting artical

by ed_welch

Tuesday June 3rd, 2003 3:53 AM Claims: "The rumour is that all Netscape Gecko code has been pulled from future versions of the AOL client, and when Netscape 7.1 and AOL Communicator ship in a month or so Gecko will be scrapped entirely. 75 highly skilled people would get the axe, many of them working on the project, with the remaining 10-20% reassigned to other jobs. To top all this, it seems that there has been a "suggestion" from management so that people with email addresses start switching their emails to Does anyone need seed the writing on the wall?"

What do you guys say about these rumours?

#26 don't worry about it

by morg

Thursday May 29th, 2003 8:35 PM

There is absolutely no indication that AOL-TW is going to drop the Mozilla Project. Out of a fraction of that $750 million in cash, the Project could be kept afloat for years. All this means is that AOL-TW has the option of using IE in its AOL client for the next 7 years--if it wants. Plus, AOL-TW gets a cross-marketing deal with MSN. Good for them. Whatever.

Notice what AOL-TW did not agree to. They did not agree to give up Mozilla. Thus, we're going to keep pouring it on.

#30 Re: don't worry about it

by jilles

Friday May 30th, 2003 12:56 AM

I don't know much about these things but I do know that AOL has had some problems capitalizing on their investments lately and that pooring money in Netscape does not generate a lot of revenue. A lot of people have an interest in keeping mozilla alive. However, netscape is pretty much a dead brand that will forever be associated with the (lost) browser wars.

So, let me put it this way: If I were a Netscape employee, I'd be looking for a new employer. Killing off netscape seems like a perfect way to cut cost at AOL and it's only a matter of time somebody brings a clue bat to the AOL headquarters.

#35 Re: don't worry about it

by Z_God

Friday May 30th, 2003 5:17 AM

You should realise that Netscape isn't just a browser. It is a complete portal (Mac IE even defaults to it.) Also the websites from CNN, etc. are managed by Netscape people. Looking at the current Gecko/XUL technology, AOL will probably create a browser completely based on XUL and Gecko at some point. This will allow for easy updates and easy crossplatform extensions.

I consider the fact that AOL, a company that invests a lot in Mozilla, gets money (from MS) a good thing.

#31 Maybe...

by Z_God

Friday May 30th, 2003 4:05 AM

Maybe MS payed AOL 750M in the hope that AOL wouldn't stop using IE immediatly (and to let it use the other 'technoligies'.

(Think of how funny it would be if AOL switched to Gecko now.)

#55 Re: Maybe...

by tseelee

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:31 PM

Yes, I'm dreaming about that day. YAY!!!!!!

#32 Sad to hear such defeatism!

by SmileyBen

Friday May 30th, 2003 4:34 AM

It's sad to hear such defeatism on this board. Don't you all realise that none of us are powerless in the question of whether AOL uses Gecko? We all have the power to make it so that AOL simply cannot afford to keep using IE in light of Gecko's superiority. Sure, Gecko is much better than IE's rendering engine now - all we need to do is making it so this is simply incontovertible.

Secondly, only the most negative of Open Sourcers would believe that AOL has a chance if it relies on Windows being dominant for the next SEVEN years. There are two possibilities: either Microsoft wins its DRM battles, etc, and successfully kills off Linux, BSD, OS X, or at some point in the next seven years a significant number of computer users will move away from the Win32 platform - either way relying on Windows is a dangerous business ploy.

#33 breathing room

by flacco

Friday May 30th, 2003 5:06 AM

there's no way AOL would depend on IE in the long term. what they got out of this is several years of breathing room while they establish independence from their largest potential competitor.

unless they are extremely, extremely stupid.

uh-oh - wait a minute...

#60 Look at the example of Apple

by pkb351

Friday May 30th, 2003 10:57 PM

Similar events at Apple a few years ago, excpet for one detail. Apple's agreement in return for Microsoft cash mandated the use of IE. Some forcast the end of the browser wars then, especially on the MacOS. But look at how history played out for Apple. Ever since the agreement mandating the use of IE ran out Apple has been working hard to become less dependent on Microsoft. Apple now has Safari. The iApps are a huge success. I I forget the name of the application, but Apple even has metting presentation software. Next I expect Apple to beef up Appleworks so that users can move away from MS MacOffice.

People gasped at the MacWorld annpouncement a few years back that Gates "paid" (actually bought 150 million shares of non-voting Apple stock) Apple to make IE the default Mac browser. People said this was the worst thing Apple could have ever agreed to and would spell the doom of the MacIntosh. RThis was not true. What this did was allow Apple some breathing room at a time when the compony was cash strapped. This was a very smart move by Steve Jobs!

The Apple situation is similar to the AOL/Netscape deal, though the AOL/Netscape deal has important diffefrences. Apple made was good for Apple. There is one major difference between the Apple deal and the AOL/Netscape deal. In the Apple deal there was the mandate that Apple must ship IE as the default browser. With the AOL/Netscape deal AOL recieves a liscence to use IE for seve years. There is no mandate in the settlement stating that AOL MUST use specific MS software (IE, Media Player). The major difference in this settlement is that MS is mandated by the terms of the settlement to promote AOL and its software on the Windows desktop. There is NOTHING in the settlement stating that the AOL software MS must promote has to include any specific MS software. The AOL software could include competting software such as Gecko or Firebird/Thunderbird.

This settlement is a win for AOL. It gives AOL some breathing room during a financial crunch. On the surface it seems like a bad settlement allowing MS to once again paly the winning hand. I do not believe this is so. Look to history and the Apple/MS deal a few years back. This was a win for Apple. The AOL/Netscape-MS settlement will be a win for AOL. Mozilla will come out on top.

Matbe now is the time to invite Steeve Jobs to join the AOL/Netscape Board of Directors.

#64 Board of Directors

by bandido

Saturday May 31st, 2003 6:30 AM

There is no such thing as AOL/Netscape Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is for AOL Time Warner dominated overwhelmingly by Time Warner appointees.

#36 Who owns the contents of

by DavidGerard

Friday May 30th, 2003 6:29 AM

Let's say AOL stop backing Mozilla development. So we pick up the source and set up elsewhere.

The development environment is a lot more than the source tarball or CVS. Who owns the information on Could five years of bug reports be rescued, legally?

#42 Re: Who owns the contents of

by morg

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:11 AM

I don't know. I do not believe that AOL-TW will stop backing Mozilla development.

Furthermore, if AOL-TW surprises me, and does drop Mozilla, they will probably sell Mozilla and Netscape to some other company, who will keep the thing going.

AOL-TW has many strategic interests in Mozilla. The AOL client can already benefit from Mozilla technology. As time passes, Mozilla is getting significantly better, and IE is stagnating.

#43 Re: Who owns the contents of

by thelem

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:13 AM

Netscape != Mozilla owns drivers include people from AOL, OEOne, Sun, Redhat and IBM IIRC.

#52 Mozilla Project = AOL-TW

by morg

Friday May 30th, 2003 6:34 PM

No. Mozilla is not a separate entity from AOL-TW. It is part of AOL-TW. The fact that it does not act like a typical corporate entity doesn't mean it isn't owned by one.

#54 Re: Who owns the contents of

by tseelee

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:30 PM

We don't have to worry about this for some time. Parsons still says he'll not drop Netscape. There's still too much bargaining power that'd be lost if they do sell or stop the project. It's getting bigger every day.

#37 Antitrust

by Galik

Friday May 30th, 2003 7:32 AM

If M$ had offered AOL money and a free licence to use IE and Windows Media Player before the antitrust case it would have been viewed as a violation of antitrust laws. Now it seems as their *punishment* for violating such laws they get to do all this *above board* so to speak. You gotta hand it to Bush. No wonder he has to pause and say "errmmm..." every so often when he speaks. He has to remember where he is and what day is is today.

#38 Sad to hear such defeatism!

by antroy

Friday May 30th, 2003 7:39 AM

At the moment there are still far too many web sites out there which just do not work on Gecko. Of course this is not a problem with Gecko, but with incompetent web designers, or designers without the time/money/inclination to redesign from old 'cross browser' (read of course IE/NS4.7) code to standards compliant code. It is also a little unforgiving of certain things which IE users would not notice - such as servers serving the wrong MIME types (e.g. trying to display a JAR archive as it was served as text/plain).

Linux does have a good chance of encroaching on Windows territory as far as the desktop goes, but not until a lot of choice is taken away from the user! Knoppix Linux for example is very easy to install on the desktop, and picks up almost all hardware attached to the PC. However, the general desktop user will get very confused over the sheer quantity of programs installed, and even what most of them do (what is EMACS? GIMP?)!

Linux needs a dedicated project to setting up a usable desktop for the average user - one desktop environment, the cream of the crop of the software, and maybe rename some of the software to reflect better what they do (Mozilla Browser and Mozilla Mail will work, GIMP would be better as GNU Image Manipulator).

Anyway, we know that at least Mozilla has a loyal fanbase - which is growing. I have converted a good handful of people from IE!

#44 Too many people are seeing this the wrong way....

by MarkHB

Friday May 30th, 2003 8:20 AM

It seems like many of the comments on this topic are forgetting the most important thing about AOL these days: the fact that they are AOL Time Warner. SmileyBen said "We all have the power to make it so that AOL simply cannot afford to keep using IE in light of Gecko's superiority", but AOL-TW is not a technology company. No matter how good the Gecko renderer is, IE and WMP offer something Gecko never can: a built-in distribution network for TW content via MSN's channels, right there with every new XP install. MSN is no longer an important competitor to AOL, as they now share a common threat: raw Internet access, which is devouring the market share of both major online services as US connectivity growth slows and mature users lose the training wheels. To the folks at Rockefeller Plaza, MS is a business partner; a real competitor is Viacom (CBS).

#50 Association for Competitive Technology whoring

by spage

Friday May 30th, 2003 2:55 PM

From the Bloomberg story :

The agreement to cooperate signals an end to a rivalry that stifled innovation and investment in the Internet, said Jonathan Zuck, executive director of the Association for Competitive Technology, ...

Riiight. JavaScript 1.3+, XBL, XPI, XUL, etc. all stifled innovation. At least Bloomberg correctly identified this bozo as "... a trade group that supported Microsoft's antitrust fight against the government".

Why do reporters even bother quoting such biased people?! MarkHB's post here is 100x more illuminating.

#51 Re: Association for Competitive Technology whoring

by jgraham

Friday May 30th, 2003 3:32 PM

I suspect that you misunderstand. By "Innovation" they don't mean technical innovation, they mean money making innovation. A big part of this deal seems to involve moving Time Warner media online in Microsoft proprietry formats. Time Warner probably wants pay per view internet video, paid for downloadable music and various other ways of making money on the internet. Microsoft wants to ensure that people who want this content are locked into using windows / wmp 9 / Internet Explorer. In fact it probably doesn't care if they use Internet Explorer or not (allegedely, fewer people work on IE than on MS Works) - after all IE doens't make them any money. That's the kind of 'innovation' being offered here - the building of a money making media network.

#62 This doesn't require MS proprietary formats

by pkb351

Friday May 30th, 2003 11:10 PM

"Time Warner probably wants pay per view internet video, paid for downloadable music and various other ways of making money on the internet."

AOL already has ties with Real. As far as I know AOL could just as easily set up pay for view using the Real formats. This is not reason to switch to MS proprietary formats. Even so the deal with MS is not exclusive so the content may be offered in more than one format. AOL may simply take the money and run. Nothing in the settlement, as far as I understand it, obligates AOL to use MS software or file formats.

#66 Internet Exploder is Dead-Long Live Windows Media

by geraldb

Sunday June 1st, 2003 10:51 AM

If you missed the news, Microsoft is going to shelf Internet Exploder. May I quote Brian Countryman, a Microsoft apparatchik:

<quote> Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS. </quote>

Just to make clear what this means. There will no longer by any stand-alone Internet Exploder or any patches to keep old Windows versions alive. Now everyone has to buy the whole Windows Media Desktop package.

See where all this is leading?

#67 The Munich Revolution - 14.000 Linux Desktops

by geraldb

Sunday June 1st, 2003 3:02 PM

Here is a slightly off-topic (re)post to help you get the story together and why XUL - - is so important.

As I see it the browser war is over and now the desktop war is on. Just recently, for example, the Munich city council decided to move 14.000 desktops from Windows to Linux, see the write-up of the story in CNET @

So where does XUL come into the picture? HTML is the markup for browsers and XUL is the markup for desktops.

Unfortunately, the W3C leadership doesn't get it. To quote from Tim Bray's weblog:

<quote>The Browser Still Matters. Finally, there was a thread that said that the notion of running everything through the browser was broken anyhow, and what we really needed was something like WinForms, that would give the developer fine layout controls and richer UI apparatus like they used to have back in the days of Visual Basic.

This is another example of people Not Getting It. Why do you think the users turned away from VB to the browser? Because they by and large didn’t like what the VB programmers of the world did with those fine layout controls and rich UI apparatus. I can remember like yesterday a Content Management conference about 1997, a woman from a big computer company talking about how great it was when they switched their CM system over from custom clients to the browser: “It’s so great!" The browser is so limited, so they had to throw away three-quarters of the buttons and sliders and pulldowns and options, and just do it with hyperlinks and simple forms... it was so much easier to use!”

For heavy authoring and graphics and so on, you need a native application. But a huge majority of business data processing is you interacting with a database off on a server somewhere, and as far as I can see, a Web Browser is still the best way to do that. WinForms? Pshaw! </quote>

Heard about XUL, Tim? I guess not too busy with the semantic web and RDF. Welcome to the XUL revolution.

#71 This is so familiar to me

by rafaelrc

Monday June 2nd, 2003 4:17 PM

If this was the first time I listen to people declaring "the death of Netscape", I would be really worried. I am though, since I've seen AOL Time Warner making a lot of nonsense decisions all along (let's not talk about booting Skip Caray off the TBS booth...) But honestly, I've heard so many times about the death of Netscape, it doesn't really make me fear the worst. I am no techie, I am just a regular user. I don't make builds, I don't tinker with any code. And certainly, at the height of the browser wars I wasn't a Netscape fan (I thought IE 4.0 was the best). Some years, computer magazines, CDs, downloads and using all major browsers to the point of exhaustion, I consider Mozilla/Netscape/Mozilla Firebird the best out there. It has made me more aware of the open source movement. It has encouraged me to look for alternatives to Microsoft (, linux). I have told some of my friends about Netscape 7.02 and they changed to it and all I get is positive feedback. I really hope mozilla doesn't fade into the sunset, I think it's starting to gain momentum and Microsoft's decision of making IE SP1 the last standalone IE release should be seen as an opportunity for all mozilla people. Many people out there doesn't know there's a choice, an alternative. But the word is slowly but steadily spreading. So, all in all, I will be worried only when I see that press release saying "no more Netscape browsers". And the only one I've read about "no more browsers" so far it's Microsoft's.

#74 Re: This is so familiar to me

by guenthar

Thursday April 15th, 2004 1:52 AM

Even if mozilla dies there still is another alternative that is multiplatform and faster then Firefox which is Opera. Opera maybe commercial but you don't have to buy it and all the advertisements that are in the browser are a couple of links at the top (with google adds) which only change once in awhile. Opera has more functionality then Mozilla and is faster then Firefox; (as of Opera 7.5 Preview 4) and it is very customizable with skins, color schemes, and the ability to customize almost all toolbars.

Even if something happens to mozilla there is still an alternative which it's developers do a really good job of making and they also listen too the people when it comes to bugs and improvements too the browser and it is also the most advanced browser for cell phones.

PS. Opera also works very well with internet download manager which means you don't have too change anything in the file types section.

PPS. The information and comparison is based on preview 4 and the other preview releases of 7.5 (which you can get in the beta testing section of the forum at you should use because they are better then the last major release. (7.23)