Netscape co-founder says world is in a ‘technology depression’



REUTERS

Published — Friday 14 December 2012

Last update 13 December 2012 11:48 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

SAN FRANCISCO: Far from experiencing a bubble, Silicon Valley has been in the throes of a “technology depression,” Netscape co-founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said at the New York Times Dealbook conference.
While conventional wisdom holds that social-networking website Facebook Inc’s initial public offering pricked a bubble that was taking hold around privately held consumer Internet companies, Andreessen expressed skepticism.
“Some bubble,” he said, arguing that bubbles are “mass frenzies” that involve public companies. “If it’s a bubble, it was a bubble that was limited to four companies, that was limited to the private side.”
Andreessen did not name the companies. Consumer Internet stocks that have disappointed investors lately after their IPOs include Facebook, Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc.
To bolster his case, Andreessen said publicly held technology stocks were trading at the biggest discount to industrials since the 1970s.
For example, he said, Google Inc’s stock price reflected valuations of zero for many of the company’s key businesses, such as video service YouTube and browser Chrome.
“The public right now hates technology, just hates technology,” Andreessen said. “We’re in a tech depression.”
Part of the problem, he said, is a belief in some circles that old-line technology companies are “doomed.” But Andreessen pointed to Apple Inc. as a company that many people had written off but which managed to pull off a stunning turnaround in the early 2000s.
Andreessen helped start browser company Netscape, which was acquired by AOL Inc. in 1999. Andreessen Horowitz, his venture capital firm, has invested in some of the country’s hottest start-ups, including Facebook and online bulletin board Pinterest.
Asked if Microsoft Corp’s best days were behind it, he said new products such as the Windows 8 operating system showed promise. “They’re fighting like hell,” he said. “They have tons of cash, they have really good management.”
Andreessen, who is on the boards of Hewlett-Packard Co. and Facebook, said little about those companies, citing his position as a director.
HP Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman is the best leader of the company since its founders, he said. HP has faced a succession of challenges, including the recent $ 8.8 billion writedown of software maker Autonomy, which it acquired earlier this year.
Andreessen also skipped a Facebook question. For him to comment on the Facebook IPO, he would have to drink the Johnny Walker scotch stashed in the conference’s Green Room, he joked.
In response to a question from the audience, Andreessen said the New York Times Co. should shut down the print edition of its namesake newspaper “as soon as possible.”
While the newspaper’s potential audience is growing quickly due to factors such as the global rise of the middle class, he said the company should focus entirely on its digital offering.
“It’s not that you can’t make money in print newspapers,” he said. “It’s not that there aren’t people who love them.” But successfully dealing with transformative technology requires going “on 100 percent offense,” he said.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A Border Guard soldier died on Saturday in a missile attack from across the Yemeni border in Dhahran Al-Jonoub in Asir.The man, identified as Pvt. Abdulilah Abdullah Hamoud Al-Shahrani, was patrolling the border in the area when the attack to...
RIYADH: Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman takes pride in his religion and his country, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) chairman.“King Salman lives his life in a confident and re...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Khaled Al-Muhaisin, the president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), are scheduled to meet soon to clear resolve differences between Nazaha and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). According...
JEDDAH: Starbucks has clarified that the ban on women’s entry at one of its Riyadh stores is only temporary and that the coffee shop will be opened to them soon after a separation wall is erected.Starbucks reportedly said that members of the Committe...
RIYADH: The Saudi government is strongly supporting the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building as part of an ambitious plan to expand the Kingdom’s shift toward organic agriculture, which will be good for the country’s nut...
RIYADH: An attempt to smuggle in 2.4 million amphetamine pills was foiled along the coast of Tabuk.An Interior Ministry spokesman said the traffickers fled from the coast after they were chased by Border Guard patrols.The spokesman said a suspect boa...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) closed the booths of five companies which participated in the recently concluded five-day Career Week because of lack of interest in employing applicants.Career Week, held under the auspices of Custodian of Two Holy...
RIYADH: The Kingdom has been developing Oroug Bani Maradh as a protected area for eco-tourism in the heart of the Empty Quarter.Aside from a number of live flora and fauna, there’s are non-domesticated animal species in the wildlife sanctuary located...
JEDDAH: Two women and three children, including an infant, lost their lives in separate fire incidents on Friday.A woman and two children died when their tent caught fire at Al-Issawi, 35 km into the desert, on Friday. The operations room of Civil De...
RIYADH: Arrangements are being made at the Ministry of Health to open a new portal for the Zika virus on its website.Faisal Al-Zahrani, the ministry spokesman, said that the new portal will give adequate details and updates about the virus which has...
ARAR: A Saudi father has urged his two sons to immediately surrender, after their names recently appeared on the list of suspects who participated in the terror attack on the Special Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir in August last year.Salem Yaslam Al...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has called on schools to implement a national anti-drug plan and given a four-month period to implement the plan and report the results.Educational directorates, according to a recent circular, have issued a directiv...
NAJRAN: School of Dentistry students at Najran University expressed disappointment with group failure of 13 students, accusing the faculty members of being unfair with their examinations.The university spokesman, Dr. Zuhair Al-Omari, said the eighth...
JEDDAH: Pakistan and Kashmir expatriates observed Kashmir Solidarity Day at the residence of Pakistan Consul General Shehryar Akbar Khan on Friday.Abdul Aziz Al-Jiffry, professor at King Abdul Aziz University, was the chief guest.The event was meant...
RIYADH: The Sri Lankan government has urged its overseas workers to register with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) before they leave abroad for employment.Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorale told the overseas workers tha...

Stay Connected

Facebook