America Online and Netscape Discussing Partnerships, WSJ Says

Wednesday November 18th, 1998

Joel Caris brings us this intriguing news. Joel writes, "When I found out the AOL/Microsoft deal ends in 2000, I started thinking that maybe Netscape would pick up the role as embedded browser with the new NGLayout technology. Well, the talks are going on and that just may happen."

An article from the Bloomberg News service stated that, according to the Wall Street Journal, the discussions are going on regarding a range of partnerships, "including a possible agreement to embed Netscape's browser into AOL's online service alongside or in place of Microsoft Corp.'s browser". The partnership may involve AOL taking an equity stake in Netscape and getting a seat on the board. The negotiations have apparently been proceeding for two months, with no agreement yet reached.

Update! ZDNet is reporting that AOL's contract with Microsoft ends on January 1st, 1999. Could AOL be the first to embed NGLayout? Time will tell....

#1 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Anonymous Coward

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 7:23 AM

I think that AOL should ditch Microsoft completely when their contract is up for renewal. Netscape will definitely have the superior product by then.

#2 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Joel Caris

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 8:37 AM

I was wrong about when the contract ends. It does not end in 2000. It ends this January 1, in just a month and a half.

Joel Caris

#3 Re: America Online and Netscape Discussing Partner

by arielb

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 9:36 AM

AOL is the only reason why Netscape was hurting in the "browser war". This is big news. Need followups please! "You've got Mozilla!"

#4 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Jim

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 3:00 PM

If an equity stake is taken by AOL, you can be sure that the browser and online software will be intergrated together.

Otherwise, AOL might not risk losing its prominent position on the windows desktop. Only time will tell.

#5 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by george

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 4:23 PM


I own both companies! ;)

ok...I think Communicator5.0 will probably get Netscape 40% more market share!

AOL will give Netscape like 23-29% market share, and i would think about 5 to 10% of people will switch from IE to Netscape.

Microsoft was stupid for not KILLING netscape. I knew if Netscape stayed alive, they would be a much stronger company! Microsoft better watch it's back!

#6 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by avm

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 8:19 PM

Hmmm. While this is good for the proliferation of Mozilla, as well as possibly increasing the rate of development, this leaves me with a question:

Would AOL's possible voice on the board hinder the open source development procedure? After all, AOL has not historically been known for openness, though this has changed somewhat with their release of the AIM protocol spec.

Just a thought...

#7 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by George

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 8:40 PM

ummm....i think Netscape will get lots of shit if they start to try to make Mozilla proprietary in some way.

Plus, now they Netscape is even trying to get people around the world to run their portal site, i think Netscape likes the idea of Open Source.

note: Netscape bought Newhoo, which is run by about 4500 people around the world.

#8 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Jim

Wednesday November 18th, 1998 10:27 PM

If AOL does become a member of Netscape's board, I don't believe the direction of Mozilla or any open source projects will be affected since the Net will eventually overtake the building of these applications. Give it time - besides, it's not like it would benefit any company to make the browser proprietary anyway. One goal of this open source direction is to gain market share and recognition in order to allow your other products to enter into that particular market, i.e. Message Server which works seamlessly with Communicator.

#9 bah

by SuperSamat

Thursday November 19th, 1998 1:47 PM

I'm an AOL member... And using other browsers within AOL NEVER worked. I ditched IE because it was glued inside AOL, and now if Netscape does that... God have mercy. The newest AOL4 client is already EXTREMELY slow and very sluggy, and with the "IE4 Included!" features, it's huge.

I rather just AOL just provide internet access and their special online content. Open a new browser instance or something.

But for a realistic point-of-view... With AOL upgrading their systems to be non-proprietory to web-based systems, they'll NEED good browser to help explore it all. It definetely will boost Netscape's market share.

#10 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Jim

Saturday November 21st, 1998 3:17 PM

One possiblity for AOL is to integrate the NGL engine into the AOL software, making the code smaller and much faster.

#11 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Jimmy Yang

Sunday November 22nd, 1998 5:30 PM

I think it's a great news for both AOL and Netscape. I have been trying to convince people around me that the 'Everything Microsoft' idea will get you nowhere but trouble, and intentionally laughed at AOL users just because AOL bundles IE.

#12 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Marc

Sunday November 22nd, 1998 6:01 PM

AOL will buy Netscape...

#13 Re:America Online and Netscape Discussing Partners

by Paul Pereira

Tuesday November 24th, 1998 1:18 AM

The purchase of Netscape by AOL makes strategic sense. Combining their portals, better prepares them to compete with the breath of Microsoft's online offerings. Also, AOL's bundling of Navigator with their software would surely restore Netscape's market share. However, the browser has become more than just an interface to the web. It is the client to the new world of enterprise web based applications like Ariba's, Extensity's, and many more to come. This new paradigm of application development leaves behind the complexities of client/server in favor of a fixed browser client no matter what program you use. The deployment cost savings alone justifies its appeal. However, when a company decides to spend upwards of a million dollars to install an enterprise web based application, you can understand the resistance they would have in using a consumer-oriented AOL Navigator as the client to their enterprise application. Although an AOL purchase would be good for consumers, it definitely would help Microsoft's case in the enterprise arena. I sure would hate to see my choice of browser options severely limited due to its association to its owner rather then its technical limitations. The ideal situation would be for Netscape to sell its portal (Netcenter) to AOL in exchange for AOL bundling Navigator with its software and for its browser, SuiteSpot, CommerceXpert software be sold to an Enterprise Software Provider like Oracle, Sun, IBM, or even Computer Associates. This would be a win win situation for all involved including consumers and businesses.