Netscape Navigator was the dominant web browser during the early years of the Internet. Developed and marketed by Netscape Communications Corporation as an easy to use product, Netscape Navigator is credited with bringing the Internet within easy reach of the average computer user. Although proprietary software, Navigator was offered for free download and was often included with ISP software packages. As no web browser was included with either Microsoft Windows nor Macintosh operating systems at the time, Navigator was often the only available choice. As the success of Navigator was dependent upon its exclusivity, the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows led to a rather speedy demise in Navigator's dominance.
The Netscape series of web browsers skips over the version 5 designation. This is because version 5 of the browser was in development when the program was GPL'ed. The new developers attracted to the project decided that the underlying code was outdated and decided to rewrite it from scratch. As the new code base shared no componentry with the existing 5.0 betas, it was called version 6.0. Released within months of Internet Explorer's 6.0 release, the matching version numbers assured public perception that the Netscape line was at least as developed as the Internet Explorer line.