Business, Software Programs

Is Marc Andreessen becoming Bill Gates of Social Networking?


When you mention the name Marc Andreessen, the very first thing that comes to mind is Netscape Inc and Netscape Navigator browser. But for better part of this decade, Mark’s ventures are turning the world into a "social" culture.

Marc is the driving force behind majority of social networking sites, serving in board of directors on eBay, Facebook and investing in Digg [have you ever wondered why Digg replaced some of its own social networking services with Facebook/Twitter integration?], Netvibes, Plazes, Twitter and numerous other social networking companies. He is also the lead investor in Ning, a development platform for creation of social networks.

Recently, a word was let go that a new type of Internet browser is being developed, with no other than Marc Andreessen behind it. A startup company is working on RockMelt, a "social network meets the Internet browser" application. Andreessen was quoted with "Browsers today have a great business model," leading into the reason why he invested in RockMelt; "there are all kinds of things that you would do differently if you are building a browser from scratch."

His next step is taking the Skype out of eBay, where he is already serving on its BoD. According to a report in New York Times, Marc is now adding key features from Skype in his large portfolio. The possibilities are immense. Adding Skype’s brilliant features such as multiple conference calls, video calls, voice calls into platforms such as Ning [bear in mind that there are some very serious accusations of Ning being a scamming company] or media such as Facebook or Twitter opens a whole new world of possibilities – revenue making ones. For instance? if Skype would integrate itself with RockMelt browser and end up being operative system agnostic, we could end up using Facebook and LinkedIn for arranging conference calls for either private or business purposes, saving on time needed to dial in on all those people – since they are already online.

Personally, I see a great deal of danger for services like WebEx, since Skype is more pervasive and OS-agnostic than browser-tied platforms. Slowly but certainly, Mark’s investment arm, Andreessen Horowitz is tying all the loose components together in a bid to dominate the social networked world. In a way, this might be a sweet revenge for Netscape – Microsoft dominated the world in 1980s and 1990s, Google and Facebook are now dominating the scene, but the player for 2010s probably only exists on a roadmap today.

One thing is certain – Marc Andreessen is probably the most influential man in the world of social networks, yet don’t expect mainstream media to dig into Marc’s profile as they did with founders of Twitter, Facebook and so on. Marc is simply everywhere – and that might change the future altogether.