Sunday, March 30, 2003

More Trails to Blaze [Andreessen interview]

More Trails to Blaze [Andreessen interview] ... "Andreessen: Six months after they bought Netscape, [AOL's] market valuation went from $40 billion to $170 billion. It went up [by four times] in six months. That was really good for Netscape shareholders, but it meant that they immediately stopped caring about Netscape. If you're a $170 billion company and you weren't six months ago, the question is not what do you do with this $10 billion thing you just bought [Netscape], the question is do you go buy Time Warner, Viacom, AT&T, the United Nations? Who do you go buy? Topic A at AOL board meetings at that time was a bar chart they had of the biggest companies in the world rank-ordered by market cap. They were on the list; therefore, anybody below them on the list could be bought. At one point, they had a draft plan to buy all of the top five newspapers in the country—The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe. [But] what they really wanted to do was to buy Verizon or somebody like that. But those guys were a little too big.
Then the dog caught the bus, and they bought Time Warner and, at that point, they didn't care about Netscape, and they increasingly didn't care about their own business. ... The AOL part of the business just wasn't being paid attention to by good-enough people."

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