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Microsoft buys Netscape in $1 Million deal

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Here's a deal that would have made many minds explode back in the 1990s: Microsoft is buying Netscape. Or at least, most of the important parts of the company that used to be synonymous with "Internet".

That's a side component of the $1 billion patent sale that AOL and Microsoft announced this morning. As part of the transaction, AOL announced that it was selling off "stock of an AOL subsidiary" at a loss, in a move that's supposed to reduce its overall tax bill.

AOL didn't disclose the name of that subsidiary in its press release, but a person familiar with the transaction has clued me in: It's Netscape.

Microsoft will buy the underlying patents for the old browser, but AOL will hang onto the brand, and the related Netscape businesses, which make up a grab-bag of stuff these days: An ISP, a URL, a brand name, etc.

All of which probably makes sense on someone's ledger books. But the transaction may still make a few heads spin, at least for people who remember Internet history and/or have access to Wikipedia.

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I am glad this didn't happen 15 years ago.

Bad times for AOL and they selling assets.

Microsoft always interested in patents.

Patents are valid for ludicrous amount of time, like 20 years.

So Netscape have patented some stuff 15 years ago.

Microsoft wants to buy these patents because if they don't, some patent troll could buy the patents and use them to sue Microsoft.

Microsoft may also want these to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) and extort other companies for royalty which they do have a track record of doing for companies manufacturing Android smartphones.

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