Facebook owns Netscape

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/30/facebook-navigator.html


Facebook doesn’t own Netscape. AOL owns the Netscape brand. Facebook owns the New Aurora Corporation.


And neither one does anything? How much did they pay for this brand? Because I have some really cool “brands” for sale!


I miss Netscape. It was invaluable for learning javascript because of its built-in debugger.


Question: why does Facebook own this “business”? Do they have some valuable contracts with the Department of Defence, or what?

Chrome, Safari and Firefox all have astoundingly good and accessible development features that would have made nineties me gasp with delight. Web development is more complex and harder to learn, but at the same time, the DOM inspectors and consoles in modern browsers have made tinkering so much easier that, overall, I think it’s as easy to get started now as it was with “view source” in Netscape.


changing CSS live in developer tools and debugging Javascript in browser are a huge headache breaker, but also make my non-technical collegues think I’m a literal wizard.


“But”? You say that like it’s a bad thing…


next you’ll be telling me that yahoo owns the rights to “it totally whip’s the llama’s ass”


so they push you back under the stairs when you are done, too ?


Embrace it! Wear a cloak and a pointy hat. Carry a jewel topped staff.


I put on my wizard robe and hat…

It’s not a bad thing per se, but it does mean your non-technical colleagues end up in your office frequently instead of calling the in-house helpdesk.


Netscape and Mozilla/Firefox are separate though, right? IIRC weren’t they at one point intertwined?

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Mozilla has multiple meanings. It can mean 1) The Netscape Corporation’s code-name for Navigator before its release in 1994, 2) Related to #1, the Godzilla-like mascot of Netscape. 3) The open-sourced code-base of Navigator released in 1998. 4) The foundation that was created to maintain that code base and which eventually released Firefox in 2002.


I think 4 is what I am worried about.

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Yes, the foundation is not a part of Netscape Corporation or whatever remains of it.


Well this is just WRONG, a quick google provides the actual facts…

Netscape is a brand name associated with the development of the Netscape web browser. It is now owned by Verizon Media, a subsidiary of Verizon. The brand belonged to the Netscape Communications Corporation (formerly Mosaic Communications Corporation), an independent American computer services company, whose headquarters were in Mountain View, California, and later Dulles, Virginia.[2] AOL renamed the Netscape Communications Corporation to New Aurora Corporation,[14] and transferred the Netscape brand to themselves. AOL sold the former Netscape company, now known as New Aurora Corporation, to Microsoft, who in turn sold them again to Facebook.

Further reading it turns out that even this isn’t 100% of the story.

New Aurora Corporation was completely shut down and disbanded by AOL. What was sold from that point on was a a portion of the bundle of that companies patent portfolio combined with a grant for unlimited use of AOLs other related applicable patents, as a package for $1B to Microsoft, with AOL retaining perpetual rights to all patents as well. Microsoft resold the rights to a portion of that IP bundle to Facebook, while also retaining a lifetime grant for unlimited use to all the patents. the company aurora was long gone before either of those giants ever touched it, just some of their patents were part of a larger patent bundle. AOL ripped Aurora apart, only the IP bundle recombined with other IP has been traded since, with each company that touches it keeping rights to use while selling ownership to the next.

Tldr; => Netscape brand is currently owned by Verizon Media. Netscape company, last called Aurora, was disbanded by AOL. Netscape’s former patent portfolio now is divided and shared among Warner Media, Microsoft, and Facebook.


Netscape was a powerhouse, and then…

AOL was a powerhouse, bought the remains of Netscape, and then…

Microsoft was a powerhouse, bought the remains of Netscape from AOL, and then*…
*admittedly, only in the phone market and the browser wars

Facebook is a powerhouse now, so they just bought the remains of Netscape…


I’m not sure which company is left to buy the cursed thing. I have a few candidates in mind but I don’t know if they’re in the market…

But then who was phone?