To those of a certain age, it hardly seems five minutes ago that Jim Barksdale of Netscape Communications was waxing lyrical, like some web evangelist, on the merits of the Navigator web browser 8211; over and above the arch-villain Mosaic-based Internet Explorer variant.
Posted byPaul Quigley on August 28, 2009
To those of a certain age, it hardly seems five minutes ago that Jim Barksdale of Netscape Communications was waxing lyrical, like some web evangelist, on the merits of the Navigator web browser – over and above the arch-villain Mosaic-based Internet Explorer variant.
The upshot is well-documented, but the furore at the time that some upstart dotcom could rival the hegemony of Microsoft was the catalyst for an army of internet entrepreneurs to huddle into garages and spare rooms to work on new paradigms and shifts in focus that would spawn many a new development that we now take for granted today as ‘business as usual’ and regular tools of the trade.
So whilst Jim Barksdale skulked off to head up dinosaur telco Ma Bell, an irony not lost in the mists of time, meanwhile, some of the rookie coders of the world had at about that same time begun the ‘Next Big Thang’ in the Interwebby thing – the roots of Google were being planted by Messrs. Brin and Page.
And so here we are, some ten years gone, and the wheel is come full circle – to the extent that the insurgent has become the incumbent, and the incumbent, the dinosaur. Given the monumental shifts in the tectonic plates of technology happening right under our feet, we see ‘Browser Wars II’ breaking out in front of our very high-def petabyte-encrusted pixelated eyes – Chrome. The nom-de-plume of Google’s not altogether surprising entrée into the wonderful world of web front-end user interfaces to augment, no doubt, the threat to its search dominance about to be unleashed upon it by Microsoft in its very next, indeed imminent version of Internet Explorer 8.
The gloves are well and truly off.
That said, healthy competition is what will make Web 2.0 thrive going forward into Web 3.0, so when all’s said and done, it is indeed still ‘a good thing’ to countenance another such war. Quite where Mozilla‘s Firefox will come into the market share equation remains to be seen, but, with a healthy 20 percent to date, as well as Opera, Safari and the odd smattering of Netscape Navigator still out there, there’s plenty still to play for if Chrome is to take on Microsoft’s 75 percent market share with Internet Explorer.
As the scientists down at CERN deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border smash atoms into each other at the speed of light, there’s likely to be more than just one ‘Big Bang’ about to occur.
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