Andreessen: AOL is brilliant at marketing

Andreessen: AOL is brilliant at marketing

Once Netscape employees can get past the image of America Online as a company for unsavvy computer users they will see how Netscape products will benefit from the Internet giant's marketing brilliance, Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, said this week.

"There's this perception of AOL as a sort of middlebrow (company) or for people who don't know any better,"Andreessen, executive vice-president of Netscape, said.

But "AOL is brilliant at marketing. I'm hoping we can learn a lot from that."

Everyone at Netscape agrees that "it's a really big deal to be No. 1, (to be) on a winning team," he said. Secondly, they agree that it's important for the company to have a clear vision and strategy, and thirdly they realise the importance of brand loyalty -- all things they can get with AOL, particularly through marketing, he added.

"The folks at AOL come from a different position in thinking about marketing. The first thing on their mind is the brand."

AOL will likely preserve the Netscape brand, possibly taking it and "going into distinct markets, and allowingindividual brands under the umbrella" of AOL, he said, citing as an example AOL's purchase of the ICQ instantmessaging technology from Mirabilis in Israel.

In addition to savvy marketing and strength in the increasingly competitive Internet market, AOL, and partner Sun Microsystems, will provide strong support for Netscape's enterprise software and enable the vendor to better operate in the Internet appliance market, according to Andreessen.

"We think this is one of the things we're going to gain from this deal," he said. "The traditional software business model is not going to work on a large scale for anyone" in the Internet device market, because there's not enough room in pricing to "extract a lot of money for software."

The key is that the business model behind that is service-based."

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