Once again, Bill Gates is facing competition from Netscape's Jim Clark--but this time, the battle is over books, not browsers.
The man who made Navigator a virtual household word as chairman and cofounder of Netscape Communications has been quietly working on the first "insider" account of the pioneering software company.
"Netscape Time," is the working title for the book, which is set to be published next spring by St. Martin's Press, according to sources. A co-author, Owen Edwards, is working with Clark on the book about the fairy-tale Silicon Valley start-up from Mountain View, California.
As of last month, the book was about half-written. Clark, currently out of the country, could not be reached for comment about his publishing career.
High-tech business books, once reserved for the bottom shelf, increasingly are being consumed by the masses as the technology industry expands its role in society and spawns personalities of almost mythic proportions. It doesn't hurt that some of them--including Microsoft chief executive Gates and Clark--are billionaires. Former CEO Gil Amelio also has cashed in on the trend, penning a tell-all tome about Apple Computer from the ultimate insider's perspective.
Although still a work in progress, the gist of the Netscape book is Clark's first-person account of leaving Silicon Graphics--the first Silicon Valley company he founded--meeting browser guru Marc Andreessen, working together to figure out "the next big thing," and eventually giving birth to Netscape, the sources said.
Much of the book is expected to focus on the period leading up to Netscape's initial public offering, the legendary market "moon shot" of 1995 that often is associated with the explosive rise of the Internet and Silicon Valley's accompanying fortunes.
This is not the first book about Netscape. Another, "Speeding the Net," recently was published by two journalists. Clark declined to be interviewed for that book.