Netscape Revives Navigator Brand for Netscape Navigator 9
Saturday May 5th, 2007
The official Netscape Blog has announced that the next Netscape browser release will be called Netscape Navigator 9, reviving the name used for Netscape's earliest browser releases at the height of its popularity.
Though many users have always referred to both the company and its flagship product as Netscape, the browser was officially called Netscape Navigator for its first three releases. For version 4.0, Netscape increased the prominence of the non-browser features and rebranded the whole suite as Netscape Communicator, though browser component continued to be called Navigator. The Communicator name was dropped for the first Mozilla-based release, Netscape 6, but the browser component remained known as Navigator, a situation that was unchanged with the launch of 2002's Netscape 7.
By the time version 8 arrived, AOL had co-opted the Netscape name for use in a variety of unrelated services, including the Netscape website (originally a showcase for Netscape's products, which evolved into a content-driven portal) and a dial-up Netscape Internet Service. This led to the decision to brand the new software Netscape Browser, presumably because the extensive repurposing of the Netscape name (a process former Netscape engineer Jamie "jwz" Zawinski referred to as "Brand Necrophilia") had caused it to no longer be synonymous with Web browsing.
While less abused than the Netscape brand, the Navigator name has also been recycled by AOL. In 2004, AOL previewed Netscape Desktop Navigator, a Flash-based application for Windows that allowed users to perform searches and access various AOL-owned Web properties, launching their default Web browser (which may have been Netscape but was more likely to be Microsoft Internet Explorer) as appropriate. More recently, Netscape have used the term Navigator to refer to a class of users on the relaunched Netscape website, which is now a social news portal. The weblog posting acknowledges the potential for confusion.
The ninth version of Netscape was announced earlier this year. Since then, previews and announcements relating to the release have been made available almost every week on the Netscape Blog. Most of these can be seen by browsing the Netscape Blog posts tagged "browser".
Navigator should be around for competition with IE7