America Online has confirmed it is in merger discussions with Netscape and looking at a development and marketing agreement with Sun Microsystems which, if rubber stamped, could change the face of the online industry.
Whilst confirming that it is in talks with Netscape regarding ?a possible business combination?, AOL said no agreement has been reached. ?There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached or a transaction consummated?, the online giant said in a statement.
In a bid to put a stop to the rumour mill running overtime in the industry, AOL also confirmed it is in discussions with Sun Microsystems over a possible development and marketing agreement for ecommerce and Internet devices which would involve Netscape products. Again, AOL said there can be no assurance that any agreement will be reached.
The proposed and somewhat complex three-way transaction deal centres around America Online, which now has more than 14 million subscribers to its online service, acquiring Netscape?s site and software business. It would then hope to partner with Sun to grow Netscape?s corporate business, marketing high end software for designing web pages and other Internet technologies designed to deal with heavy Net traffic.
The move would also enable America Online to shift its Internet browser deal from Microsoft?s Internet Explorer to Netscape Navigator, said analysts. This would give Microsoft the strongest competition it has had in the browser market since its heavy handed tactics against Netscape landed it in antitrust violations.
Sun would also benefit by pulling in support from America Online?s subscribers for its Java technology and, among large corporations, its Unix operating system Solaris, which is popular for powerful computers running Netscape's server software.
The entire deal has been estimated to be worth around 4 billion dollars. The three companies had combined revenues of more than $12.4 billion last year. Microsoft, by comparison, had revenues of more than $14 billion.
Analysts believe the deal would have no direct influence on the Government?s antitrust suit against Microsoft, although it supports a major theme running through Microsoft?s defence - that the technology industry moves so fast, alliances change all the time. Executives representing Netscape, America On-line and Sun are all government witnesses in the trial.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago