Popular 1990's WWW
browser developed by Netscape Communications Ltd.
for several operating system
s. The first, and arguably the best commercial web browser
. In its heyday, Netscape
(as it is commonly abbreviated) commanded upwards of 95% of the growing browser market.
Through the first four cardinal version increments, Netscape effectively dictated the 'standards' that would be adopted by webpage authors, to increasingly hostile effect. Their growing paranoia was justified, of course - although it took Microsoft a concerted effort and over $500 million to obtain critical mass for their own Internet Explorer browser, forcing both products to be distributed for free.
Versions 4.0 through 4.79 saw incremental improvements to the 1997 version, now often seen expanded to a 'suite' dubbed Netscape Communicator. The proliferation of versions over the period from 1997-2000 lead many people to erroneously believe that NS4 is unstable (this 'tried it once, written it off forever' mentality explains why many people do not use Mozilla today). This incarnation's handling of CSS is very dodgy, however.
From version 6.0 onward, the word 'Navigator' has been dropped and Netscape (as it is now known) is based on the Mozilla codebase (invariably a few weeks or months behind the cutting edge of Mozilla development, and crammed full of AOL-mandated crap).
AOL-Time Warner currently use Netscape Navigator as a bargaining tool in their ongoing conflicts with Microsoft. In exchange for putting IE on their trial CD's, they are allowed to have an AOL icon on the Windows desktop.
AOL are likely to re-negotiate this deal as the next version of Mozilla-based Navigator will certainly blow Internet Explorer into the weeds, at least for those that can be persuaded to upgrade.