The Print Death Watch Has Begun
I’ve always considered Marc Andreessen a smart guy. Andreessen co-founded Netscape Communications from its start as Internet Explorer’s main Web browser competitor and then 10 years ago dumped it on AOL for $4.2 billion. A decade later, AOL has abandoned Netscape keeping it only as “general-use portal” effective February 1. In other words, the acquisition was a big mistake while AOL continues to be a Time-Warner eyesore.
I’m starting to think that Andreessen could be more lucky than good. Granted, he went on to make another quick $1.6 billion when he sold his server-management company, Opsware, to HP last year, but this week he told Josh Quittner, Fortune magazine’s executive editor (a former newspaper guy himself), that he has started a death watch for the New York Times.
Andreessen’s arrogance only is outdone by the pathetic admiration Quittner has for the computer geek-turned-investor, who now touts social networking site Ning as his latest project while holding investment interests in Digg and Twitter, both of which I think will end up like Netscape.
Honestly, I get tired of hearing guys like Andreessen talk about the demise of print products. I recall the many proclamations that the Internet would kill print like CDs wiped out cassettes and vinyl. It hasn’t.
I’m guessing that when Mark Andreessen bought his first microwave, he didn’t predict it would be the end of his conventional oven or gas grill. Frankly, things just taste better when cooked at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or put in a smoker for hours and hours on a warm summer afternoon. Like good veal parmesan, a New York strip or barbecued ribs, content on paper that has structure and substance will never get nuked.