IT-Director: Is AOL About To Take On Microsoft?

“Following the recent judgement against Microsoft, the time may
be right for some competitors to take Microsoft on directly. One
clear possibility is that AOL may do so. In particular it may try
to re-establish the Netscape browser.”

“Early last year we were tipping AOL as “the next Microsoft”
because it had clearly occupied a number of strategic positions in
respect of the Internet. In particular we were impressed with its
purchase of ICQ and its dominance of “chat” software. Chat software
is the precursor to Internet telephony and whoever owns the biggest
directory stands a good chance of taking the biggest part of the
market. We were unsurprised to watch AOL manipulate its market
position to try to deny Microsoft a part of that market. In an
ironic change of roles, Microsoft was calling for open standards
while AOL was ignoring the call.”

“Now that Microsoft is perceived to be wounded, there is
little reason for AOL not to become more aggressive. If AOL doesn’t
re-ignite the browser battle now, it will inevitably do so if its
new Internet appliances catch on.”