America Online trying to buy Netscape

In a move that could alter the competitive landscape of the Internet forever, online giant America Online is attempting to purchase ailing Netscape Communications for a stock swap worth almost $4 billion. AOL, Under terms of the deal, Netscape's NetCenter Web site would be turned over to AOL, as would the company's Navigator Web browser. Sun Microsystems, meanwhile, will get Netscape's server software and pay AOL for the right to use Netscape technology.

AOL and Netscape have confirmed that talks continued over the weekend, and though a deal was expected before Monday morning, the day went by with little new news.

Perhaps obviously, Microsoft was overjoyed about the news of the buyout.

"This proposed deal demonstrates a simple truth: There is vigorous competition in the marketplace, and Microsoft faces resourceful and creative competitors," said Microsoft attorney William Neukom said Monday. "From a legal standpoint, this proposed deal pulls the rug out from under the government. In fact, the mere possibility of this kind of a combination completely undermines the government's case from start to finish. The government's case was and is unnecessary. Microsoft's competitors have always had the ability and the resources to change the competitive landscape and to do it virtually overnight."

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