Not To Praise Netscape, But To Bury It — Following on AOL’s $750 million settlement and technology agreement with Microsoft last month, AOL announced last week it was laying off 50 employees at its Netscape Communications subsidiary while simultaneously donating Mozilla trademarks, intellectual property, and some $2 million over the next two years to the Mozilla Foundation, a new non-profit organization coordinating the Mozilla open source project. AOL was quick to point out that its layoffs involved less than 10 percent of its Netscape subsidiary; they didn’t mention that the terminated personnel constituted the entire Netscape development team. AOL plans to continue supporting the Netscape browser and portal site (and insists it is looking for ways to leverage the Netscape brand), but it’s now all-but-certain that no updates, bug fixes, or development will take place on Netscape software – which may be of no great consequence, given the minimal market share owned by the Netscape browsers these days. Some former Netscape coders may find new homes at the Mozilla Foundation: perhaps that will bode well for its Mozilla and Firebird projects (and, by extension, the Camino browser for Mac OS X). [GD]
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