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Netscape--a wild success

In response to the March 14 Perspectives column by Charles Cooper, "What if Netscape had won?":

I must take issue with your assertion that Netscape has become "an embarrassment."

For those of us who worked at Netscape and saw it grow to over $250 million in revenue in a shorter time-span than any other software company--and for those who stuck around to see the company bought by AOL Time Warner for over $9 billion--there is neither embarrassment nor shame. I know many, many people who would have given their right arm for such an outcome.

What happened is Netscape sold at the right moment, a credit to Jim Clark, Jim Barksdale and Marc Andreessen. What happened thereafter was unfortunate, but more of a direct result of Microsoft's anticompetitive practices than management any poorer than at your average Internet company.

You in the press have a hard time saying what we all know, so let me make it clear: Netscape succeeded wildly and defines to this day start-up success. But its true potential was cut at the knees by Bill Gates, who used the power of his operating system monopoly to crush Netscape before it could fully exploit the enormous market potential that awaited it.

Chris Zaharias
Menlo Park, Calif.