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The Browser Wars

In the beginning was WorldWideWeb. Developed by Tim Berners-Lee, the world's first Web browser was developed on and written specifically for the NeXT platform -- in other words, it was not something many people could take advantage of.

Other browsers soon followed -- www, Erwise, Midas, ViolaWWW, Cello, and more. But the browser that really kick-started the Web was Mosaic, released in 1993. Written by Mark Andreessen and Eric Bina at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Mosaic was the first Web browser to successfully integrate text and graphics in the same window. Although originally written for the Unix platform, the browser was soon translated into Mac and Windows versions, making the Web accessible to a broad audience. Users began flocking to the Web, and Mosaic was the best way to get there.

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Round 1: Netscape Navigator vs. Mosaic

Shortly after releasing Mosaic, Andreessen quit working at NCSA to form Mosaic Communications Corp. NCSA fought for the Mosaic name, however, and Andreessen's new company was renamed Netscape Communications. At the same time, NCSA licensed the Mosaic technology and trademarks to companies such as Spry and Spyglass to create commercial versions of Mosaic.

In 1994, Netscape released a new browser called Netscape Navigator, and the browser wars were on. Fast, stable, and feature-rich, Netscape Navigator quickly became the de facto standard for Web browsing. In 1994 and 1995, the upper-case N denoting the Netscape browser could be found on Internet-connected desktops everywhere. Mosaic in all its iterations quickly began to fade.

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