Feeds

Browser innovation is dead – Andreessen

But don't blame me

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.