Speaking Out: Opsware's Marc Andreessen

Do you agree with Larry Ellison that Silicon Valley, as we know it, is dead?

Of course not. Larry's a brilliant guy. That said, everything he says has to be filtered through his own self-interest. And you have to take everything with a massive grain of salt -- a boulder of salt. Larry says things like, "The PC is dead. The Network Computer is going to take over." He says things like: "Internet television is going to be huge." All these things Larry said over the years that weren't true, they're all self-interest.

So in this case, he's got a very interesting situation on his hands. He's got a very large software company where the core franchise, the database business, is a very good business. But he's got big competitors: Microsoft and IBM and now open source. There are some very interesting questions around the future of that business. And he's got a big consulting business, which is fine, but big consulting businesses are hard to differentiate because they all do basically the same thing. And then he's got this applications business that he hasn't really been able to get traction in.

Have you seen the Next Big Thing?

Nope. Almost by definition, I won't. When it first emerges, it's likely to look deeply fringe. The people who are involved in the next big cosmic thing probably can't even get a job at Opsware because they're too fringe to work at an established software company.

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