This week Microsoft finally killed the browser. After totally missing the Internet boat, at one point his Billness even suggested it would be a passing fad, they have finally used their illegal monopoly and their cash mountain to murder Netscape. At the same time the have also frozen all development on IE as a standalone product, to get any newer versions you will have to upgrade to Windows 2003, as IE doesn't exist hence forth.
As has been widely reported the US$750million Microsoft paid to struggling AOL-TW, and AOL-TWs "free" IE licence, effectively kills their Netscape unit. One can only hope they sell Netscape to someone with Deep Pockets and strong resolve. While the Mozilla browser is open source, and the code is now in the wild it does need cash and commitment to keep it alive.
Less widely reported is Microsoft announcement though they have still time to change their mind, that they are to freeze all future development of IE as a standalone browser. Future versions will be an integral part of the OS, and so back porting to a legacy OSs such as NT, 9x, 2K or XP will not be possible. I think there was something about not doing this anymore in their court case, but evidently the law doesn't apply to his Billness's company.
As long as they are around I will continue to use and support Mozilla and Opera, they are both great browsers, and at the moment leave IE6 in the dirt. While IE6 is better than IE5, it's XHTML/CSS support is class trailing, it's PNG support still sucks, and the critical security defects continue to appear with alarming frequency....