Netscape co-founder starts new Internet company

By : |October 27, 1999 0

When Marc Andreessen co-founded Netscape Communications with Silicon Graphics co-founder James Clark, the only thing they said at the time was that it had something to do with the Internet. This week, Andreessen announced the formation of a new start-up called Loudcloud. All he would say is that it is an Internet company. “I’m deliberately vague. We’re going to come back early in 2000 and have more details.”

Loudcloud is based in Menlo Park, in Silicon Valley. Andreessen did say that the company is developing new technology and services that will help companies develop their Web sites, handling more of the technical aspects, so that the companies can focus on the primary business. Andreessen recently left his post as chief technical officer of America Online, one year after the merger of AOL and Netscape.

New Internet companies are typically quiet about their plans in order not to tip of potential competitors. Anyone can establish almost any kind of business on the Internet. But, being in a new field early and becoming the standard bearer is key to long-term success. “If you look at any company expanding in e-commerce, now they are all hiring software engineers, and network architects and systems architects and database experts. It just doesn’t make any sense,” Andreessen said.

Andreessen said today’s Internet situation is not unlike the early days of the computer industry, before packaged software, when high-paid software engineers developed custom applications for their employers. Andreeesen’s new company appears headed for the market of application service providers (ASPs), an area dominated by Microsoft, IBM and Oracle and Oracle. Andreessen said that there remained a “huge hole” in this market that Loudcloud would address.

Loudcloud’s management team include many of the same people who helped Anddreesen build Netscape, including Ben Horowitz, who will be chief executive of Loudcloud, who led several divisions at Netscape and America Online, Tim Howes, a co-inventor of the Internet standard for directories, and Sik Rhee, a co-founder of Kiva software.

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