Brendan Eich: Microsoft Attempted Netscape Purchase in 1994

For a while, it wasn’t Microsoft, or Mozilla or Opera that had the most up-to-date, whiz-bang web browser, it was Netscape. If you were interested in trying out the latest web technology, you used Netscape Navigator. If Microsoft has had its way and bought Netscape in 1994, we may be browsing the web today without any options but MSIE.

Brendan Eich, the founder of JavaScript, said that in 1994, Microsoft was “coming after Netscape. They were trying to do something called VBScript, based on Visual Basic…they’d made an offer to acquire Netscape late 1994 before I joined; it was not enough money so they were turned away.” That was right after Netscape Navigator was released, and many changes were afoot. The impact from such an acquisition would have been very substantial.

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