Andreessen to take post as AOL's chief tech officer

Mark Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape Communications Corp., has agreed to become America Online Inc.

Mark Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape Communications Corp., has agreed to become America Online Inc.'s chief technology officer, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Andressen will report to AOL chief Steve Case and will be placed on a team to see that AOL remains competitive. The appointment is contingent upon the completion of the merger between AOL and Netscape.

The retention of Andreessen is a positive sign for AOL, in that it's likely to hang onto more of Netscape's talent. Andreessen is the "heart" of Netscape's corporate culture, where programmers play roller hockey on their lunch breaks. Netscape had been bleeding employees as the company foundered after losing its browser battle with Microsoft Corp.

In November, AOL agreed to merge with Netscape in a deal valued at $4.2 billion. One of the big questions about the union was how AOL would retain Netscape employees.

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