Forum: Did AOL buy Netscape for its market?

These edited excerpts from InfoWorld Electric's forums provide a sample of the lively debate that takes place there. For the full discussions, go to http://www.infoworld.com and click on the forums button.

What impact will the AOL-Netscape deal have?

"Now that America Online, a Microsoft 'partner' owns Netscape, it will simply kill it after a year or two, leaving -- guess what? -- Internet Explorer as the only player in the market. Have I been watching too much X-Files, or what?"

"I hate to say it, but Version 5.0 will probably be the last Netscape browser. I believe AOL bought Netscape for its market, not its software."

"It is in AOL's interest to keep Navigator as a viable alternative to IE to prevent Microsoft from extending its monopoly to browsers."

"It just means that we have two very big companies -- AOL and Microsoft -- both trying to get a bigger part of the Internet. Hopefully the Internet will survive unscathed."

How do you know when it's time to upgrade?

"As someone else pointed out a long time ago, 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it'."

"Change hardware when it breaks -- not because some OS vendor has a plan to escalate your hardware requirements. It seems so simple."

"PCs and peripherals are becoming so cheap these days that it's changing some fundamentals of business. It's already becoming harder to justify upgrades."

"We typically upgrade our mainframe when the cost of maintenance shoots through the roof. Our bottom line is that it is cheaper to buy new hardware than to hire techs with skills to keep older hardware running."

Why is Microsoft abandoning the NT brand?

"Now that NetWare 5 has shipped, the concept that Windows NT 5.0 won't be here until next year emphasises that NT 5.0 is very, very late. Notice how cleverly the "2000" naming has taken the pressure off the delivery date."

"Microsoft tries to avoid direct version comparisons between NetWare 5 and NT 5.0. Microsoft doesn't want to give people the impression that it lags behind."

"Simple. Windows 2000 is going to ship with a minimum of 2,000 software bugs."

"Windows 2000 will let people know that it is Y2K-ready and will be Microsoft's OS of the future. Microsoft is trying to get away from numerous operating systems and into one common system. It'll be easier to upgrade it and will standardise everyone."

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