AOL Possibilities

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America Online is kicking ass. I think we all remember not too long ago when AOL was in third place behind Compuserve and Prodigy. Now with 5 million members, AOL is wheelin’ and dealin’ with the big boys.

Both Microsoft and Netscape have sent out press releases claiming alliances with AOL. (See Netscape release & Microsoft release)

This is very strange since AOL plans (I assume) to have only one proprietary web browser. As I see it there are two possibilities:

  1. America Online and Microsoft partner giving AOL a much needed boost in their World Wide Web browser and a prime spot on the Windows 95  desktop. Microsoft  in turn would get 5 million new customers to their Internet Explorer browser. How this will affect the Microsoft Network  is still up for grabs. This possibilty will throw Netscape  off the top of the mountain before 1998.
  2. America Online¬†goes with¬†Netscape¬†as their proprietary browser. This would ¬†I’ve¬†AOL¬†a much needed boost in their World Wide Web Browser.¬†(Am I being redundant?)¬†The partnership would benefit¬†Netscape¬†by giving them 5 million new customers, but let’s face it, Netscape Navigator has 70% of the market already; 5 million isn’t going to make or break them. The real benefit is in the battle with¬†Microsoft¬†. Its image. Who has the best browser?

The truth is: Browsers aren’t profitable. They are loss leaders. Netscapeand Microsoft make their money selling internet and network software. The browser has been used to get attention for the internet software.Netscape has built itself into a internet behemoth by giving away great browsers. They want to make money however selling their other products.

Keep a close eye on this alliance. It will spell the beginning of the end for the Mountain View Men or a significant setback for the Redmond Riders.

Whatya think?