Red Hat acquires AOL's Netscape server software | CNET News.com "In a move to add more open-source arrows to its quiver, Linux seller Red Hat has acquired the Netscape server software products of AOL Time Warner, the companies plan to announce Thursday.
Red Hat plans to release the Netscape Enterprise Suite as open-source software, meaning that anyone will be able to use, modify and redistribute the products. It's a new step in Red Hat's "open-source architecture" plan to expand beyond its core product, the Linux operating system, Chief Executive Matthew Szulik plans to tell analysts at a company conference Thursday in New York.
In an interview Wednesday, Szulik declined to comment on terms of the deal, but said the company spent less than $25 million on the acquisition.
America Online bought the Netscape products in 1998 when it acquired the company in a complicated $4.2 billion transaction. As part of that deal, Sun got the Netscape intellectual property--and many of its programmers--for use in products called iPlanet, Sun Open Network Environment and now the Java Enterprise System.
What Red Hat got is very different from what Sun has now, though, said Joe Keller, vice president of application and development platforms for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based software and server company.
"They're buying antique software," Keller said, adding that Red Hat's tactical shifts are confusing. "They used to find the best of open source and bring that forward. Now they're buying the oldest of commercial software and making it open source."
But Netscape's server software wasn't frozen in 1998. The acquisition includes a team of fewer than 50 programmers, Szulik said, and the directory software is included in Hewlett-Packard's Web Server Suite for Unix."
The mutually-assured destruction competition between Sun and Red Hat continues to expand...