netscapedisk

Marc Andreessen is known throughout the Valley today for making big key investments in companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Github. But if you know your Internet history, then you know Andreessen’s most important achievement outweighs anything he’s done with his checkbook: He and his colleagues created the first modern Internet browser, Mosaic, later known as Netscape.

Mosaic was the first browser to really resemble the ones we use today. It was easy to install, it worked on the preeminent operating system of its time, Windows, and it included many of the simple features we take for granted, like a URL bar, forward and back buttons, and graphics that display in the same windows as text. But while these features may seem quaint by today’s standards, they helped bring the Internet from a tool used only by physicists and the Defense Department to something that’s closely integrated into the lives of everyday people.

Andreessen is notorious for not wanting to talk about Netscape. He once told our editor in chief Sarah Lacy that he would only agree to an interview with her as long as she didn’t ask about it. For that reason, we tapped Andreessen’s Netscape colleagues, including executive Ben Horowitz, investor John Doerr, and Index Ventures’ Danny Rimer who helped take Netscape public, to tell the tale for him. From profanity-laced emails to fighting giants at Microsoft, here’s the story of one of the most volatile and important companies of the Internet age.

[Script by Kym McNicholas, Editing/Music by David Holmes, Narration by Sarah Lacy]

[Photo by Toshihiro Oitmatsu]

To learn more about Netscape, check out our interactive map of the Netscape Mafia

Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is an investor in PandoDaily