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Marc Andreessen speaks frankly at Oracle AppsWorld / RE: Oracle Licensing

From: Eric D. Pierce <>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2001 12:54:07 -0800
Message-ID: <>

re: Andreessen says software companies, customers act as adversaries


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   Thursday February 22, 2001

   "NEW ORLEANS -- Marc Andreessen may have created one of the most     important pieces of software in history with the Netscape     browser, but he swears he will never run a software company again.

    'Software is the blob that ate the world,' Andreessen said,     addressing Oracle conventioneers in his Thursday afternoon     keynote address here. Reciting a litany of

[*]    abuses software
[*]    companies have perpetrated against consumers, Andreessen

    explained why the need for better customer service will change     the system of software distribution.

    Software makers have had an increasingly adversarial     relationship with their customers, largely because software     companies do not look for a continuing sales relationship, he     said. Speaking in the parlance of software sales people,     Andreessen described software sales as 'drive-bys, or hit-and-run     sales, in which the company sells the software and moves quickly     on to the next sale, leaving customers to fend for themselves.

    He called a particularly gratifying sale -- one to a customer not     expected to use the software -- a 'crack hit.'

    In a broad and humorous attack on the software industry,     Andreessen said an adversarial culture has developed during the     last thirty years, in which customers wait like vultures for     software companies to reach the end of their financial quarters     before ordering software in order to squeeze down prices and in     which sellers pitch upgrade after upgrade to customers to boost     revenue.

    Unlike many of the speakers at the week-long conference,     Andreessen was [***]fairly candid[***] about the effect the     technology market implosion has had on companies in California's     Silicon Valley. 'The next few years will be characterized by     immense pressure,' he said. Earnings matter again, there is no     shortage of competitive pressure, and customer expectations are     not getting any more reasonable, he added.

    Andreessen is now the chairman and CEO of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based     LoudCloud, an IT infrastructure services company. He drew a     parallel between the services offered by his own company and     Akamai Technologies' content delivery networks, the security     network of VeriSign, and the Internet addressing system managed     by Network Solutions. Each provides a 'standard' for a function     for the Internet, he said. The time has come for such standards     to become more widespread.

    In the early days, standardization can be a drawback because it     limits creativity,' Andreessen said. 'In a more mature     environment, [a standard] is necessary in order to ensure a level     of predictability.'

    Andreessen intends LoudCloud to establish a standard for     e-commerce, in effect to commoditize the function of     administering e-commerce Web sites. LoudCloud's clients outsource     their Web site e-commerce operations to the company, which     periodically upgrades the software running the site and aims to     guarantee high levels of reliability.

    Andreessen's comments mirrored the sentiment Oracle Chairman     Larry Ellison expressed a day earlier at his own keynote speech     here. Ellison attacked the idea of customizing software by     integrating different applications from different vendors,     calling the process time-consuming, laborious, and expensive.     Ellison also wants customers to rely more on Oracle for software     customization and improvement in functionality.

    Oracle AppsWorld continues through Friday at the Ernest N. Morial     Convention Center.
    George A. Chidi is a Boston-based correspondent for the IDG News     Service, an InfoWorld affiliate. "

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Author: Eric D. Pierce

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Received on Tue Mar 06 2001 - 14:54:07 CST

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