Netscape started as Mosaic Communications Corporation in 1994, when Jim Clark recruited Marc Andreessen to co-found the company. The original idea was for an online gaming network for Nintendo, but didn’t gain traction. They ended up developing a new web browser, Netscape Navigator. Andreesen worked on the original Mosaic browser at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications while a student at the University of Illinois.
Netscape browser would be THE Internet, it was initially sold as boxed software you would buy in the store. Netscape was one of the strongest brands on the internet and it’s IPO in 1995 set new records sparking the first dotcom boom.
Microsoft would eventually compete with Internet Explorer which they bundled with Windows and gave away for free, undermining Netscape but also bringing anti-trust suits. Netscape would eventually be acquired by AOL, and spin out the browser as open source, becoming Firefox.
Netscape occupied a set of buildings along Ellis St. in Mountain View, these same building were former home to Hewlett Packard, and now Google. The progression of Silicon Valley can all be seen in these same buildings.
Another set of buildings near by, pictured below, were occupied by Netscape are now headquarters to Symantec.