Feeds

Browser innovation is dead – Andreessen

But don't blame me

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Netscape founder Marc Andreessen has taken a potshot at the product that earned him his fortune. The former Illinois student commercialized Tim Berners Lee's web browser first with Mosaic, then took the team with him to found Netscape.

But Andreessen says that "that there hasn't been any innovation on the browser in the last five years" and doesn't see any in the next five years.

"Navigation is an embarrassment. Using bookmarks and back and forth buttons - we had about eighteen different things we had in mind for the browser," he told an industry audience in London yesterday.

However in this interview, a younger Andreessen explained why.

"Basically we took the minimalist approach, as we did with Mosaic. With the interface we tried to make sure there was a minimal amount of stuff other than the Net-based information itself. It would draw out that information, make it possible for people to focus on that information, and get rid of all the crap that usually clutters applications," he told the Smithsonian Institute's Oral History project in 1995.

Indeed both Mosaic and Netscape browsers separated out (or lost) the authoring functionality that was part of the first CERN web browser, and the simplicity and bookmark management played a huge part in the success of these products.

If today's mass market browsers doesn't showcase much innovation, perhaps that's the mass market doesn't want them, preferring familiarity and simplicity. Or perhaps Andreessen is a secret Internet Explorer user. While IE has added nothing since version 4.0 in 1997 - six years ago - the Opera browser has added a number of usability features, evolving with each release. Or perhaps people make good choices. At large, perhaps it's because the web is no longer seen as anything more than an expensive and often cumbersome tool, and not the epiphany we were led to expect. A means to an end, not the end in itself.

Andreessen left Netscape after its merger with AOL in 1999. Having once derided Windows as a poorly debugged device driver loader, Andreessen this Spring saw Netscape's parent AOL sign a seven year deal with Microsoft for the right to continue using Internet Explorer as the core of its client software. ®

Related articles

Browser wars suit ends with death knell for Netscape
Internet is dying - Lessig
Opera - Your mother should know
Jakob Nielsen on how Apple blew it, how Linux will blow it, and the Next Big Thing
MSN deliberately breaks Opera, claims Opera

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?