Netscape as a scapegoat?

Here is the story I remember: Netscape had a choice. Keep all of it’s intellectual property to itself and capitalize on it. Control the market. or

Hey. Open it up. Give it away. let everyone use it.

I hold this company in higher esteem than any kazillion dollar firm out there. The polio vaccine took years longer to come to fruition because labs were competing against each other to get there first. There wasn’t a sharing of information that could launch us toward the cure.

The same is true for cancer. For everything. We keep the information to ourselves so we can keep our funding. (or maybe for some to get the kudos)

At a dinner party I mentioned Netscape as an example of what the Green movement could do. If we could get everyone sharing information in some sort of “opensource” way – we’d innovate ourselves out of the mess we are in.

One of the party goers, a smart young technology guy who has likely forgotten more than I know about tech stuff, said “Netscape. They are dead. You need to update your metaphor.”

I was stunned. is that really how Netscape is seen in the tech world? Because they sold to AoL? Does a great deed die because we do not profit from it? Is it because Netscape had to lay off workers. Was he one of them?

It made me think about heroic measures. The unseen things that folks do for no accolade. The kind of thing that will likely need to happen to get us out of the steady decline we are in.

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