Subject: Re: What should Sun do?
From: Ben Tilly <>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 16:32:05 -0800

On Thu, 03 Feb 2005 18:56:28 -0500, Anthony Long <> wrote:
> [...] AOL jettisoned Mozilla because it was losing AOL
> money.  AOL does not continue to support Mozilla at the rate it did prior to
> "handing it over" to a non-profit, if it gives any support at all. [...]

I believe that you have misread the whole AOL/Mozilla thing.  My
guess is that AOL supported Mozilla to give them an alternative
that they could switch to if Microsoft didn't renew the agreement
when they next negotiated licensing from Microsoft to have an
AOL-branded version of IE.

This was not because they particularly wanted to switch.  But
because they wanted the _option_ as a negotiating point to get a
better rate.  And when they bought Netscape, they had a
legitimate fear that they would have no options available.

If you were paying attention when it happened, AOL dropped their
support for Mozilla right after they successfully renegoiated a
multi-year contract with Microsoft.  Which suggests to me that the
two events were connected.  By my theory, they got exactly what
they were looking for, and then had no business reason to
continue.  I'd guess that on Microsoft's part, they had every
reason to try to get AOL to drop support for Mozilla, and I wouldn't
be surprised if that was stipulated in AOL's agreement.

Indeed the current browser market is such that they should have
no significant fear of not having an alternative for their next
round of negotiations.  And so they have no reason to put any
effort into making sure that there is an alternative available.

I've never seen confirmation that this was their goal, but it is the
only explanation that I know of which fits everything I know about
what they decided.

(This strategy would be straight from _Information Rules_.)