I am a netscape junkie and I, too, didn't have to pay for it. In their current form, I'd prefer Navigator over Explorer any day, but I have to say that if publishing a web page is as easy as writing a document in Word or Powerpoint, then hitting a button to put it on the web, I'll opt for Windows and Office tools with explorer built in over keeping my OS and browser separate. Navigator isn't THAT much better than Explorer.
People fear that Mr. Softy could integrate everything into it's browser and therefore eleminate any competition that ever comes its way. People are forgeting what's made microsoft's OS and PCs so successful over the years. They've succeeded because of their flexibility. Every software company owes their livelyhood to this flexibility. With windows, any joe-schmo software developer can make a program to perform an infinate variety of customized, specialized tasks. Sure, microsoft has developed leading applications that perform the most basic tasks--word processing, spreadsheets, scheduling and presentation authoring. These basic applications dominate the market, sure. But Microsoft could never hope to write every program for every task that runs on it's operating system. Instead, they insure that other companies can. This is why Windows has value and dominates the OS market. Anybody can tap into it's power by creating a program that runs on it.
What you need to understand is that the web is, at it's very core, an extension of your computer's power and storage capacity--not a basis for browsing applications which run in the perifery of your operating system. The web and web-browsing is different and other applications. In fact, THE WEB IS NOT AN APPLICTION. IT IS A TOOL. I contend that web is a core element of everyone's computer--something that can and should be managed by the computer's operating system. Applications can and should use the web much like they use RAM and your hard drive.
So integrating browsing capabilites into an operating system does not discourage competition among software developers. Rather it allows developers to create an even wider more capable variety of programs than what is currently possible--creating more room for them to innovate and compete.
Rest assured, IBDaily. While Netscape will be a casualty, it is in Microsoft's best interest to insure that computers that run its operating system enable independent companies to develop specialized tools to run on their OS. The real benefit that Microsoft gets from integrating windows with the web is not by eliminating Netscape as a competitor, but by making it's OS more powerful for the companies which create applications to run on it.
So in the real world (not the one in which the justice department and some of those on this thread live), competition is still alive and Netscape is dead. The only questions are: When will the justice department come to it's senses and when will Netscape die or be consumed by an interested party?