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Sun takes jovial jabs at "AOLscape" deal

Sun's chief cracks jokes at a meeting with Netscape on why the Web browser company should have bought America Online instead.

It's well known that laughter is the best medicine.

Sun Microsystems' chief executive Scott McNealy met this week with Netscape's rank-and-file, along with other executives, to discuss the buyout of the company by America Online. As part of the deal, Sun will market Netscape's enterprise software.

Melding the cultures of the three companies will be a challenge. As an ice-breaker at the meeting, McNealy cracked some jokes. Taking a cue from talk show host David Letterman, the chief offered ten reasons why Netscape should have bought America Online instead. They are:

10. The first three are Microsoft bashing, so I was told I can't say those.

7. You now have to wear ties when you go to the head office!

6. No really good software comes out of Washington (D.C. or state).

5. Bark [Netscape chief executive Jim Barksdale] was a better witness than David Colburn, AOL's senior vice president of business affairs, at the Microsoft antitrust trial in Washington.

4. Can you imagine Netscape executive vice president Mike Homer, who runs Netcenter, running AOL.com? Scary!

3. Barksdale wouldn't be able to work on his golf games and maybe beat me someday. Ah, no chance anyway.

2. Now I have to get my wife to switch back to AOL.

1. Barksdale, a Southerner, would change the greeting to "Y'all got mail."