It came as no surprise. AOL stopped development on the Netscape browser.
Netscape, as we once knew it, is finally dead. For now. Why did Netscape last as long as it did? What software is next?
Frankly, I never fully understood the Netscape business model. The browser was mostly free, Mac or Windows. The Windows bundled Internet Explorer pretty much killed whatever Netscape had going for it, except for the lawsuit against Microsoft.
The most recent Netscape browser was really Mozilla’s open source Firefox browser with a few extra features. Still, it’s hard to mourn the passing of something that was always free, and for which there are many free substitutes, better than the original.
Buying and using Mac software (or, Windows software) can be a tricky business. You never know how long a software developer will keep making that application or utility you so cherish and which is so instrumental in your everyday Mac life.
Is it any wonder why people stick with Apple’s products, or Adobe’s suite of overpriced software, or Microsoft Office, and don’t venture out to buy or use software from less well known publishers? They expect Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft to keep publishing their favorite tools.
Of course, even the big publishers allow some of their titles to die on the vine. For Mac users, Apple neglected AppleWorks to death. Adobe killed ImageReady. Microsoft abandoned Internet Explorer.
I’ve become more careful about which Mac software applications and utilities I use. If I invest time and money with new software and integrate it into my Mac life, then I want the software publisher to be around for a more than a few years.
For example, Quicksilver is a very popular Mac launcher search utility. Some Mac users swear by it and consider it the best way to use a Mac, instead of a mouse. Tens of thousands of Mac users know and love Quicksilver.
Guess what? Things change. According to the developers, Quicksilver may not have much of a few future, at least, a future as users know Quicksilver.
Think of all the Mac users who loved and used iMovie before Apple changed it for the worse in the latest version. The new iMovie is a crippled, dumbed-down version, far unlike the original, which was used by hundreds of thousands of iMovie-loving Mac users.
Sometimes I try new Mac software and consider putting into my collection and using it, only to discard it because I’m not convinced that it has a future. I stopped using Netscape when the future ended, but tried out their recent Firefoxized version, then stopped using it, too. Why? No future and plenty of more capable competitors.
At best, buying and using software, Mac or Windows, is something of a crapshoot. You might get a few good years out of a well developed application or utility, but you never know when a software publisher will pull the plug.
What about you? Has a Mac or Windows software publisher killed or stopped development on software you loved and used?