This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Say It Loud: I'm Back and I'm a Cloud
Oct 27 1999 12:00 AM PDT

Marc Andreessen held a press conference to say very little about his Next Big Thing, a company called Loudcloud. Everyone was there; everyone covered it. Wired's Craig Bicknell caught the flavor of the event nicely:

[Q] "Can you give some specifics? Something, anything?"

[A] "That's what I'm trying not to do." (Bicknell's piece ran under the Seinfeldian title "An Announcement of Nothing.") The New York Times' John Markoff quoted Andreessen's answer to yet another is-it-bigger-than-a-breadbox question: "Our DNA is going to be software. We're not going to be consultants, and we're not going to build Internet data centers."

Wired's Bicknell surmised that Andreessen mounted the public announcement to steal thunder from reports that had been leaking out in the press. Indeed, Smart Reseller reporters Ben Elgin and Mary Jo Foley had broken an exclusive report last Friday, and yesterday morning the Wall Street Journal's Kara Swisher had published many of the details that Andreessen later revealed to the assembled media. (Swisher literally wrote the book on AOL (dossier); one hopes her sources there are still productive.)

Swisher's copy, now accessible only by searching the Wall Street Journal's site, made the only stab at explaining the new company's name. It seems that "cloud" is the term used by network engineers for the vast undifferentiated middle of a mega-network.

Scott Herhold, writing for the San Jose Mercury News, read the tea leaves of Loudcloud's initial management team - top-heavy with Netscapees - and speculated on the kind of company a savvy entrepreneur would hire those people to build.

Andreessen promised that his cloud would issue more thunder early next year.

An Announcement of Nothing
Wired News

Netscape Cofounder to Head Internet Software Start Up
New York Times
[Registration required.]

Can Marc Do It Again? (Friday)

Start-up's All-Star Lineup
San Jose Mercury News

Andreessen Launches Second Startup

Andreessen to Start New Firm
Washington Post

Andreessen Makes It Official: Loudcloud

Andreessen Reveals Latest Venture