Netscape announced in its first press release (October 13, 1994) that it would make Navigator freely available to all non-commercial users, and Beta versions of version 1.0 and 1.1 were indeed freely downloadable in November 1994 and March 1995, with the full version 1.0 available in December 1994.

1995: "By the summer of 1995 most WWW users on the internet were using Netscape's browser. Market share was at 80%+."

"The war between Microsoft and Netscape denominated the Browser Wars; Version 1.0 and Version 2.0 of Internet Explorer (IE) were mostly inferior to contemporary versions of Netscape Navigator; IE Version 3.0 (1996) caught up competitively; IE Version 4.0 (1997) seemed-to, but did not, over-take Netscape; IE 5.0 (1999), of improved stability, took significant market share from Netscape Navigator, for the first time."

In March 1998, Netscape released most of the code base for Netscape Communicator under an open source license. The product, Netscape 5, uses open-source community contributions, is known as Mozilla, Netscape Navigator's original code name. Netscape programmers gave Mozilla a different GUI, releasing it as Netscape 6 and Netscape 7. After a long public beta test, Mozilla 1.0 was released on 5 June 2002. The same code-base, notably the Gecko layout engine, became the basis of independent applications, including Firefox and Thunderbird. link)

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