HTML and CSS Reference
the time—it gave away Navigator! At its peak, Netscape had captured close to
90% of the browser market.
In 1994, something wonderful happened. Vice President Al Gore , as
chairman of the Clinton administration's Reinventing Government program,
arranged for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to sell the Internet to a
consortium of telecommunications companies. his ended the NSF's strict “no
commercial use” policy and gave birth to the dotcom era and jokes about Al
Gore inventing the Internet. In mid-1994 there were 2,738 websites. By the end
of that year there were more than 10,000. 1
From the beginning, competition to commercialize the Internet was ierce.
In the mid-1990s, the tech community was abuzz about the “browser wars”
as browser makers threw dozens of extra features into their sotware, add-
ing many new elements to HTML that appealed to their respective markets.
Netscape added features that appealed to graphic designers, including sup-
port for jpeg images, page background colors, and a controversial FONT tag
that allowed Web designers to specify text sizes and colors. Microsot bundled
Internet Explorer into its Windows operating system and tied Web publishing
into its Microsot Oice product line. hese moves resulted in considerable
legal troubles for Microsot. hese problems lasted until 2001, when the U.S.
government suddenly dropped its antimonopoly suit against the corporation
in the irst days of George W. Bush's presidency.
Other companies introduced browsers with interesting ideas but
never captured any signiicant market share from Netscape and
Microsot. Arena, an HTML3 test bed browser written by Dave
Raggett of Hewlett-Packard (HP), introduced support for tables,
text low around images, and inline mathematical expressions.
Sun Microsystems came out with a browser named HotJava that generated a
lot of interest. It was written in Java , a programming language that Sun
developed originally for the purpose of controlling TV set-top boxes. Sun
repurposed the language for the Internet with the dream of turning the
browser into a platform for small, interactive applications called applets that
would run in a virtual Java machine in your PC. Sun put Java into the public
domain to encourage its adoption. his allowed Microsot to make and market
its own version of the language. Microsot's Java was suiciently diferent from
Sun's version to make using applets (not to mention writing them) diicult.
Although the Java language eventually gained widespread use in building
in-house corporate applications, HotJava died along with Sun's
1. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_websites_founded_before_1995