A Match Made in Cyberspace

The recently announced $4 billion mega merger between AOL and Netscape promises to accelerate the growth of online retailing. The two giants are also teaming up with Sun Microsystems, developer of the popular Java programming language.

AOL gets Netscape's award-winning browser technology and access to one of the hottest portals on the Web. Netscape gets badly needed cash and a bigger share of the browser market. Both companies benefit from Sun's Java technology while Sun hopes to get enough clout to fight Microsoft's Evil Empire in Redmond, Washington.

The resulting alliance hopes to make a dent in the Microsoft domination of the PC world. It is even possible they may choose to compete with Microsoft for operating system business at some point in the future, a market sector where Microsoft has 95% of the business.

Still, questions abound. Will Netscape's freewheeling Net nerd corporate culture be swallowed up by button-down AOL? Will AOL loosen up? Can they really beat Microsoft? We'll Just have to wait and see.

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