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Bye bye, Netscape ?

Netscape then realised that it must take advantage of another of its strengths : the phenomenal number of visitors recorded on its Website (several million visitors a day). It decided to enhance the value of its site by going in the same direction as Yahoo!, the commercial window of Netscape, would have to turn into Netscape, portal site, offering the same type of service as Yahoo!, Excite or Hotbot : research services, information services, discussion forums and electronic commerce. But Netscape's situation differs from the three latter sites, as it controls the browser software. It can therefore decide which home page or bookmarks are the default settings, and even short circuit the traditional research methods by integrating search functions into its browser (like the smart browsing which allows research without being connected to a search engine). It's easy to imagine a shopping menu integrated directly into the browser, allowing a search agent to find products on sites listed by Netscape.

Netscape has thus changed into a hybrid company, halfway between publishing software, publishing its contents and organising a community. What might seem like spreading itself too thin is in fact a guarantee of its success in the world of electronic commerce, which demands an understanding of these three dimensions.

1 butterfly + 1 butterfly = 1 butterflies
This is the lesson understood by AOL during the buy-up of Netscape at the end of 1998. AOL (America On LIne) is an online service born at the beginning of the 1990s and which at the outset was quite unconnected with Internet. Several networks existed at that time, among others, Prodigy and Compuserve. Later, we were told about information super highways by french gurus, infobahnen by german gurus and autoroutes de l'information by french gurus. Microsoft (MSN) Apple (e-world) and IBM (Global Network) created their own online services, considering that Internet, which was just starting to emerge, had no future and that it was their privately owned networks, which offered high-quality content and discussion groups, which would win the race. Since those days, Internet has hijacked these services by forcing them to open up to the Web or disappear. AOL, like the others, proposed wider and wider links with Internet, until it became an integral part of its service. It has become the largest Internet service provider in the world, with 25 million subscribers (of which three are outside the US). For instance, you, dear reader, do you think of AOL as an Internet access provider or an online service ? If Internet is your reply, that proves that AOL has changed direction without a hitch. This explains perhaps why AOL is still in the race as an Internet provider in the face of the opposition from telecommunication companies, whereas all the other online service have disappeared or been bought up (like AOL bought up Compuserve).

For AOL, buying Netscape is another element which has allowed it to strengthen its position on Internet. Netscape has strong links with Excite, a search engine which has turned into a portal site, Netscape controls a huge number of computers, and AOL understands Internet access. The control of these three nerve centres in the Internet value adding chain (community, portal and access) makes AOL a first-rate intermediary.

And since January 10th, AOL took over media giant Time Warner, after this one failed to control the internet through his pathfinder portal and spoiled more than $150 millions since 1994 (for a complete analysis of the AOL Story, please subscribe to our newsletter we will publish soon a story about the this astounishing that will change the face of the new economy and also the face of the world economy, creating a the most powerful company ever.

next: Microsoftus leveragus logicielis

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If you enjoyed this site, we obviously share values: we have written it in 1999 !

We haven't updated it online as the vision still is more and more relevant: the more the internet matures, the closer it gets to our vision.

We still believe in innovation, creativity, rigour and results control.

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