Browser wars are back – Netscape founder re-enters fray

14 Aug 2009

Marc Andreessen, the creator of the Netscape browser that helped kickstart the consumer internet revolution, has returned to the browser space, backing a start-up called RockMelt.

Following the defeat of Netscape by Microsoft, Andreessen became a respected Silicon Valley investor. His new venture is staffed by former executives from a company called Opsware which Andreeson co-founded before selling it to Hewlett-Packard two years ago for US$1.6bn.

Andreessen is also sits on the board of social networking giant Facebook.

While little is known about RockMelt, according to the New York Times Andreessen has suggested that it will tackle the limitations of internet browsers today, which he believes have failed to keep pace with the evolution of the internet into a network of complex sites and applications.

After Microsoft defeated Netscape in the first browser wars in 1997, it went on to control about 90pc of the browser market.

Today, however, while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is still the world’s dominant browser, the market has a variety of interesting competitors from Mozilla Firefox and Opera to Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years