Netscape, or more precisely, Netscape Navigator, was one of the most significant internet applications in the history of the web. It was launched by Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark. Having built a highly innovative product and having no real competition back in 1995, the company was evaluated at $3 billion since the first day it went public and would go on to become one of the backbones to the Mozilla project.
WebRouser, UdiWWW, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer were some of Netscapes biggest competitors. However, despite its early success, Netscape had no real chance to beat Microsoft who released IE 1.0 soon after Netscape and continued to improve on it until they finally took over Netscape and were able to offer a consistently better product than their counterpart.
It was also no secret that Microsoft had wanted to beat Netscape. An internal memo from May 1995, clearly outlines Microsoft CEO Bill Gates' objective to become the preferred web browser at the time.
Netscape eventually became obsolete for the most part but was, however, acquired by AOL in November 1998 for $4.2 billion.
After the acquisition, the company tried again to release upgraded versions of the browser but the battle seemed to have already been won by Microsoft.
Netscape finally decided to outsource their code which would later give rise to Firefox. AOL finally shut down Netscape in 2008.
Netscape was one of the first online browsers, competing with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. However Internet Explorer surpassed it in market share and technology, and it was formally shut down.
The end of Netscape Navigator was officially discontinued. Despite this, users were able to transfer their data to Flock and Firefox using migration tools forsome time after the company was shut down.
Firefox is a descendent of Netscape. After the software got discontinued as a Navigator some of its features and technology were implemented in the development of other browsers such as Flock and Firefox.