From JP Morgan tech newsletter:
Technology Industry Daily
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Monday, April 14, 2003
Volume 7, Number 71
* Browser turns 10. What's next?
Mosaic, the first major Web browser, was officially released 10
years ago, Newsweek reported in its April 21 issue. It was posted
free of charge to the Internet. In 1990 Tim Berners-Lee, a British
researcher at the CERN physics lab in Geneva, had created a set of
technical rules for what he hoped would become a universal Internet
document center called the World Wide Web. It was getting some buzz
in the research community as a way to digitally distribute papers,
but the first browsers were text-based only and hard to use.
Marc Andreessen and fellow NCSA worker Eric Bina's program handled
graphics and was easy to use. Mosaic was an instant success online.
Within six months, more than a million people had downloaded it.
Before Mosaic, there were only a few hundred Web sites. But when
huge numbers of people were able to access colorful pages, there was
incentive to create innovative sites. That provided Web surfers with
more reason to stay online.
Editor's comment: The browser transformed the Net from a relatively
static environment, mostly transferring e-mails around academic and
business sites to one of dynamic movement, with millions of sites
and servers. Within a few months, Andreesen left to co-found
Netscape, and when the company went public in 1995, Microsoft
already had a competing browser. Microsoft turned the browser into a
feature of the operating system and now has an estimated 95% market
share. Browsers are fairly mature technology, and there's not much
design innovation coming from Redmond these days.
Aside from its visual richness, the browser's attraction is the
simplicity of hot links and a back button, technology that anyone
can grasp within a few minutes. That simplicity generated a huge
audience, which in turn was one of the drivers of the explosion of
e-commerce. What's the next big thing? In browser technology, my
guess is that it's Web log technology, which turns a browser into a
simple self-publishing tool. Blogging isn't a commercial medium yet,
but it could transform the creation and distribution of information.
It will provide a direct link to customers for tech experts -- at
lower cost and with the word-of-mouth impact of an authority.