The web browser once used by over 90 percent of internet users is to be killed off on February 1 2008.

Netscape, now owned by AOL, dominated the web browser market in the mid-nineties, before Microsoft's Internet Explorer began to gain traction. Microsoft currently has around 80 percent of the market, and in recent years, Mozilla's Firefox (16 percent) has taken over as its only real competitor. Netscape currently accounts for just 0.6 percent of the market.

"While internal groups within AOL have invested a great deal of time and energy in attempting to revive Netscape Navigator, these efforts have not been successful in gaining market share from Microsoft's Internet Explorer," said Netscape director Tom Drapeau on his blog.

"Recently, support for the Netscape browser has been limited to a handful of engineers tasked with creating a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions."

Drapeau said security patches for the current version of the browser would be released until February 1, 2008. After that date, there will be no more active product support for Navigator 9, or any previous Netscape Navigator browser. This includes Netscape v1-v4.x, Netscape v6, Netscape v7 Suite, Netscape Browser v8, and Netscape Navigator/Messenger 9.

He recommended that current Netscape users download Mozilla Firefox. "We know you'll enjoy it," he added.