Microsoft has (kind of) acquired Netscape, buying many of its key patents and assets from erstwhile owner AOL. Early Netscape employee JWZ calls it "brand necrophilia" and adds, "I assume that this means that ValueClick will now be suing Microsoft over the cookie patent instead of AOL, if that's still going on. There are no winners here." AOL says the sale was made at a loss, for the tax-break.
Microsoft will acquire all the patents surrounding the Netscape browser, while AOL will still own the actual brand. That extends to the Netscape business, which was once an ISP, as well as the URL for the brand.
Netscape was one of the factors behind Microsoft’s entry into the wide world of the internet, prompting them to license Mosaic source code and turn it into Internet Explorer. Fitting, then, that everything has come full circle, and Microsoft has purchased patents behind IE’s raison d’être.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.