Browser wars suit ends with death knell for Netscape

A lawsuit intended to bring justice to Netscape has ended with a deal that sounds the death knell for the browser. Microsoft today agreed to settle a private antitrust suit brought by AOL Time Warner, paying the latter $750 million. The case was brought "to restore competition lost in the operating system market and in the Web browser market because of Microsoft's illegal conduct."

But amongst the many bonuses for Redmond in the settlement, AOL committed to renewing its royalty-free license to incorporate Internet Explorer into its own software for seven years. Asked if this meant that AOL's Netscape division would be spun-off, AOL CEO Richard Parsons replied, "Not at this point," following up later with "Not at this time."

Hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the open source browser. AOL is the main sponsor, and the largest commercial client of the Mozilla project. The Netscape division employs between "two and three hundred" staff in Silicon Valley, a far cry from 1998 when AOL acquired the company in a stock swap worth $4.2 billion. Several hundred Netscape staff were transferred to Sun Microsystems - matchmaker for the deal - two years ago.

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News source: The Reg

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