Microsoft Urges Windows Users to Dump Netscape 8

In an ironic twist, Microsoft is urging users to uninstall Netscape 8 because of security flaws that make it incompatible with Internet Explorer.

Microsoft urges Windows users to dump Netscape 8 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Microsoft Corp. is urging Windows users to uninstall the new Netscape 8 Web browser from their computers, saying it damages Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft’s announcement on Friday came after a Microsoft technician’s blog posting a day earlier that said Netscape’s updated technology interfered with Internet Explorer’s ability to display some Web pages.

Computer users who install Netscape 8 and then go back to using Internet Explorer for browsing may see some Web pages appear blank in Internet Explorer. The problem particularly affects pages incorporating display technology such as that used for syndication-service feeds.

Spokespeople for America Online, Netscape’s owner, told several trade publications on Friday that they were working on a repair for the problem and may be ready to release it soon. The company said, however, that the problem probably will affect only a small number of users in the interim. Nevertheless, Microsoft issued its plea to uninstall Netscape because it believes that’s the only way to address the problem until permanent repairs are available.

Users also must edit Windows’ system registry after removing Netscape. Instructions on how to perform the edit are available at

Netscape 8, which is based on the Firefox browser developed by the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, employs some of the same features as Internet Explorer. The combination of technologies results from AOL’s antitrust settlement with Microsoft in 2003.

The earliest versions of Netscape dominated all browser use until 1998, when Microsoft began packaging Internet Explorer with Windows 98 and included it with other software products.

The commenters at IEBlog are, shall we say, skeptical.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    My wife’s federal government office dumped Netscape last year in favor of Mozilla and Thunderbird — so there may actually be something to what Microsoft is saying.

  2. ozzippit says:

    Last year’s Netscape version is not the one Microsoft mentions. Mozilla is based on the Gecko engine, same as Netscape, so the switch would have been easy. The feds probably switched to Mozilla, because Netscape had nothing new out then.