I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that America Online has continued to use Microsoft Internet Explorer as its browser engine, even though it acquired Netscape last year – pretty ironic, eh?

Well, an even better commentary on Netscape’s software skills comes today from the offices of Time Warner. After the merger with AOL, Time Warner issued an edict to all of its divisions requiring them to use AOL’s email services – software developed by Netscape, running on AOL’s public servers.

It has been a disaster. “Management got months of complaints from both senior and junior executives in the divisions involved, who said the e-mail system, initially designed for consumers, wasn’t appropriate for business use. Among the problems cited: The e-mail software frequently crashed, staffers weren’t able to send messages with large attachments, they were often kicked offline without warning, and if they tried to send messages to large groups of users they were labeled as spammers and locked out of the system. Sometimes, e-mails were just plain lost in the AOL etherworld and never found. And if there was an out-of-office reply function, most people couldn’t find it.”

Companies such as Time Magazine had to go so far as to have hard copies rushed before deadlines by cab.

Plans are now to retreat from this forced migration and return to the services previously held by each company – in other words, everybody has permission to use Microsoft Outlook again.

Here’s an article with all the embarrassing details.

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