Monday, June 26, 2006

Book Review : Speeding the Net

Joshua Quittner & Michelle Slatalla's 1998 book Called Speeding the net : the inside story of Netscape and how it challenged Microsoft is a book I just finished. The authors are a husband and wife partnership and Quittner presently writes for the excellent business 2.0. Well, on with the review. First off, let me admit two things. am a Apple user, as I hate windows poor usability and monopolistic practices. Secondly, I refuse to use Internet Explorer on any of my computers. Therefore, in reviewing this book I have STRONG biased. Well, this book is purely excellent. The authors discuss the history of the internet and the tools required for programming (especially the long hours of coding based upon pizza and expresso), with enough information to inform but not overload the reader. All main characters of netscape are discussed from the programmer (Andressen), the investor of idea's in Netscape (James Clark) and CEO, Barksdale. I must admit Gate's and Microsoft are shown to be 'the darth vader of computing'. The book looks at the Browser Wars between Netscape and Internet Explorer, and how Microsoft 'leveraged' [a term used by a Microsoft manager]there monopoly through the operating system to win the war. How Compaq was forced to use IE or lose having Windows as there O/S. Its amazing how the browser wars are sometimes now forgotten, and search seems to be the new war (or is it net neutrality)? The book does miss some things. For example, it forgets to mention how Yahoo was given a free link on Netscape at the beginning and made a fortune. Also, the book finishes in 1998 and doesn't conclude the anti-trust case against Microsoft or Netscape being bought by AOL. But thats after the event, so I shouldn't complain. Anyhow, after reading this, I converted back to using Netscape. The book is worth a read for many reasons. The youngsters making 'killer apps'. The begining of the inflated bubble (Netscape doubled there IPO opening price before issuing, from $14 to $28). Being overwhelmed by Microsofts. Its all here and more. JUST GET THIS BOOK. 9 out of 10.

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