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Browser Wars Next Round: Netscape Founder Backs New Browser

The problem with browsers says Netscape creator Marc Andreessen, is that they haven't kept up with the web. His new startup RockMelt hopes to change that.

Started with former Opsware executives Eric Vishria and Tim Howes, the company is still in the early stages of development. As Mr. Vishria says, “Talking about it at this stage is not useful.”

In the world of start-ups though, it is. Buzz is everything, and the sooner you start, the better.

While Microsoft enjoyed a nice run after beating Netscape in the earlier browser war, and controlling more than 90 percent of the browser market, things have since changed.

Now, Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are all going head to head.

Then there's Firefox, the more stable Mozilla browser and second behind IE. Introduced in 2004, it now has 23 percent of the market while Microsoft’s share has dropped to 68 percent.

By comparison, Safari has 10% of the market and Chrome only 2%.

The bigger change to the industry that Andreessen is looking to take advantage of is the switch to a web-based style of working versus a computer centric approach.

With the collaborative nature of work environments now, he feels the time is right for such a change, but that current browsers have not exploited this mindset enough.

"The Web has become so central to what we do, and the browser is the technology that mediates our interaction with the Web, the way the browser works is really important."

Considering his presence on the board of Facebook, could that also signal his intent to have better integration with social networks? If it does, he’s not saying.

250 million Facebook users however is a very appealing test group for any start-up.


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