Notes from the field Bobby isn't sure the AOL/Netscape story holds up

As you may imagine, the whole America Online/Netscape Communications/Sun Microsystems thing has occupied much of my attention recently. I love this kind of story because it reminds me of stumbling onto someone else's romance at high school: first speculation, then confirmation, and finally, consummation.

Even Rose (with whom I am now enjoying a fragile peace) liked the intrigue, although she was disappointed when she realised it couldn't be attributed to an evil plot by Microsoft.

Still, the conspiracy theories are flowing, and one of the more credible ones is that John Doerr of venture capital Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is the force behind the deal.

You see, Doerr sits on the board of all three companies participating in the deal: AOL, Netscape, and Sun. One observer said this deal is more about Netscape admitting that it can't compete with Microsoft in the long term, and the venture capitalists having an exit strategy.

Backing up this theory, I'm also hearing that it was Netscape that approached AOL, and AOL - which has long been interested in acquiring Netscape - decided to proceed now because the company figured it would only get progressively more expensive if Microsoft lost the Justice Department suit, and Netscape's stock price increased.

Where in the world is Andreessen?

For me, one of the most intriguing questions of the whole deal is where was Marc Andreessen during all this?

Is it coincidence that he's on sabbatical now, or was he asked to go on sabbatical so the executives could get him out of the way while they completed the deal?

Or was he disgusted with the proposed deal and went away in protest? I think people should be told.

Of course, knowing my luck, Andreessen is on a beach somewhere with Pammy.

Whoops! Mustn't mention that name in front of Rose.