Future of Open Source Browsers aka Is the open web fu**ed again?

More news items and blog posts today on yesterday’s AOL/Microsoft announcements and the possible impact of this new alliance on Netscape and open source browsers:
–O5O, OS Opinion writes:
Is the Microsoft-AOL Time Warner browser settlement the beginning of the end for open-source and alternative browsers? Does it represent a threat to the open standards of the Internet? What about the fate of Mozilla.org, the open-source group tightly connected with Netscape? All these questions are on the minds of alternative-browser industry insiders as the ramifications of Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) settlement with AOL (NYSE: AOL) began to sink in.
David Smith, research analyst for Gartner, quoted in Bost on internet .com story: The IE-Netscape “competition has been way overblown in past couple of years. The two companies really only compete on the fringes,” said David Smith, Microsoft analyst for research firm Gartner:
“Microsoft is a supplier of technology. AOL is a user of technology as a media company.” To talk about browser wars now is ridiculous, he said. “It is so off the map these days and out of the world of issues that people have. Very few people use [Netscape], very few care.”
Reuters News: Clock Ticks for Netscape…
Forrester Research analyst Rob Enderle said that, now, it’s only a matter of time before AOL sells Netscape. “Clearly the clock is ticking for Netscape as a Web property owned by AOL Time Warner,” he said. “This is an asset that has become nonstrategic in a company that is doing some massive cost cutting.”
Netscape executives declined to comment. AOL Time Warner Chief Executive Dick Parsons shed little light on the company’s plans for Netscape. “We’re still exploring other opportunities with Netscape,” he said in announcing the deal. Asked if he was planning to sell the unit, he said, “Not at this point.”

National Post of Canada:
…This spells the end for Netscape, whatever it means for our ability to police our own homes and computers. There is no a longer a reason for Netscape to exist, with its market share dwindled to nothing, and with it not fitting into AOL Time-Warner’s plans to refocus on media properties and their distribution.
And while no one has apparently noticed, the deal is also a strike against the open source software movement. AOL Time-Warner no longer needs to bankroll Mozilla, the nonsensical browser promoted by the evangelical fans of collectivist code. Without its support, that browser will languish, at best, and more likely founder.

Forbes: Microsoft clears the Netscape history file:
Microsoft has wound back the clock to 1995 and paid $750 million–in cash–for Netscape so it could put it out of commission.