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Horsefeathers, John! Get the Facts Straight.

Dvorak’s latest rant, this time on the great "IE Blunder" is convenient, revisionist, and ignorant of the facts. 

He ignores the fact that Netscape didn’t even exist in the summer of 1994 when the plan to put the browser into the OS was hatched.  In the fall of 1994 when the Spyglass deal was done, the company had already examined a bunch of other browsers, and nearly bought Booklink before it was snapped up by AOL.  But not Netscape.  Why?  Nobody knew about them.  They didn’t unveil what they were doing until early 1995. 

The real motivation was that Microsoft’s competitors had a browser in their products.  IBM had WebExplorer, and Apple had Cyberdog.  Team OS/2 used two demos over and over again in demonstrations to show that OS/2 was a superior modern OS to Windows.  One demo was their multi-tasking capability, and the other was IBM WebExplorer. 

Marc and the Netscape boys were confronted with the same conundrum many Web 2.0 companies have today.  They were building a feature, not a product.  Furthermore, they didn’t have a buyer anymore because all the logical buyers had already bought.  When they figured that out, they went on the offensive and declared Netscape a new OS.  Hunh?  Hubris or stupidity,  it doesn’t really matter.  The rest is ancient history.  They parlayed their albatross into $6 billion and went home winners.

Ya gotta stop eating out of those aluminum pots, John.  It’s affecting your memory. 😉

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Larry Borsato April 27, 2006, 9:18 am

    Odd, considering that I was using both Mozilla 0.9 and Spyglass in late 1994.

    As for the browser deal being hatched in 1994, that would be surprising considering that Bill Gates said in the first edition of The Road Ahead in 1995 that the internet was of no use to business, though he had changed his mind by early 1996. I actually attended both the 1st Netscape Developer Conference and the first MS PDC to address the internet, a week apart from each other in March 1996.

    Pretty much the only reason people used IE is because it came free with the OS.

  • Alec April 27, 2006, 11:37 am

    You're right that Netscape did their first release in October 1994. My dates for their release were a few months off.

    This is worth reading: http://www.businessweek.com/1996/29/b34842.htm. It's a businessweek article from 1996 — a chronicle of the times. The rest of my dates are correct, and as you'll read in the article.

  • Jim Courtney April 27, 2006, 2:58 pm

    The mention of Spyglass by both you and Mark Evans in the last couple of days has triggered me to write a post on what lead to the launch of Spyglass along with some commentary based on my own experiences at Quarterdeck where we attempted to launch a browser product. Woops, feature….

    [Now if the folks at Google could be convinced to incorporate TrackBack into Bloger, I would not have to write this comment…]

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