Netscape Serves as Model for Next Millennium

Netscape’s newest corporate strategy points out some important lessons for
other companies attempting to compete using the Internet, which at this
point probably includes anyone who still plans to be in business in 2005.

Microsoft earned admiration, even from its detractors, when Bill Gates
decided that Internet-enabling its entire product line would become a
corporate priority. Moving quickly and turning the company’s focus to the
Internet was vital to Microsoft’s growth and survival.

Netscape has done the same–not just once, but several times. While much is
being made of the fact that it recently released its browser source code
and weaned itself away from its associated revenues (see’s
for Net
community’s response
), we should remember that browser revenue alone
was never something the company counted on to carry it through to greatness.

The company’s frenzied corporate launch this week follows closely the
release of its first Navigator offering–which itself was largely a new
“corporatized” version of the legendary Mosaic browser. Yet even back then,
selling servers was key to its strategy.

Netscape is characteristically moving ahead–not just by outlining a new
corporate strategy, but also by defining the entire playing field once
again. Its concept of an Enterprise Service Provider (ESP) is brilliant
(for more information see Intern’s coverage
) as it strives to provide corporate IT
departments with the means necessary to propel themselves successfully into
the next century.

But if your company isn’t in a position to reinvent itself or to profit
from the ESP model, how else can it learn from Netscape? Think big:

  • Netscape is reinventing its Netcenter destination portal to maximize
    its profits and visitors, and give its biggest customers another reason to
    look to Netscape for solutions–a link from Netcenter that could bring in
    millions of potential customers as well as direct income.
  • Citibank, one of Netscape’s largest customers, is thinking big by
    planning for a billion customers. You can’t get that big without using the
    Internet to its maximum potential, and entering into some very strategic
  • Netscape’s software offerings, whether available as separate products
    or “behind the scenes” on its site, will have one common element in the
    future: They’ll be ready for global deployment on a huge scale. Total
    automation of updates and management is the key. Anything less won’t do
    when you’re thinking of such a rollout.

Software and Web developers can use these examples to help themselves
prosper in the new millennium. After all, if one of the biggest companies
in the Internet business knows it must totally reinvent itself to succeed,
you can do it too.

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