Marc Andreessen Joins eBay Board of Directors

This is literally yesterday’s news, but was worth a mention here.  From the eBay Ink blog:

Marc Andreessen has joined eBay’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Andreessen is most noted for co-founding Opsware and Netscape, and served as AOL’s CTO immediately following its acquisition of Netscape. His current venture is Ning, a new consumer Internet company founded in 2004 that is focused on building a next-gen platform for social networking. Rather than having its users join one all-encompassing social network, Ning encourages and allows users to create their own social networks for anything they’re passionate about. In four years, more than 480,000 social networks have been created by users on Ning.

I had a chance to meet Marc briefly as part of the OpenSocial launch @ Google last year.  There is no question in my mind that eBay will benefit from having his perspective on the board given their current challenges.

Some interesting facts & links:

In particular, I’m going to flag a post I wrote over a year ago about how eBay missed its opportunity to buy Ning cheaply, and why that acquisition would have made sense.  I caught some flack for that last summer… feeling at least partially vindicated here.

Ding Dong, The Apple iPhone NDA is Dead

They’ve been celebrating in the streets all day.  Apple iPhone NDA.  Gone. History. Finito.  Buh-Bye.

Great news and timing for the CS 193P class at Stanford, as this means that forums are likely to emerge quickly for students to engage with, learn from, and help each other.

Here is some text from the Apple Announcement:

We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software.

We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.

However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone’s success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.

It’s interesting to note the phrase I bolded above… given Apple’s history with the Mac & Quicktime, it always seemed possible that the iPhone NDA was a reaction to those bitter lessons.

The San Jose Mercury has a funny write up here.  Ars Technica has a more verbose post up as well.

I think we’ll see a measurable increase in the number of applications and the relative quality and pace of innovation from this change.  It was shocking how much this simple legal protection was stifling the growth and development of developers new to the platform.

Need Help: Obama on Glass-Steagall Repeal in 1999

I need some help here from those closer to the inner workings of the Barrack Obama campaign.  I have it from fairly good sources that Obama has a strong economic team, and that he’s intelligent.

So why would he advocate a position based on the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999?

Just to rattle off a few bullets:

  • Glass-Steagall prevented companies from having both commercial & investment banks.
  • The products of the mergers that were enabled post-Glass-Steagall have been the most stable in this crisis, because they have large deposit bases in their commerical arms to balance the leverage in their investment arms.
  • The non-diversified firms, both commercial & investment banks, have been the hardest hit.
  • The investment banks that are remaining (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley) are pursuing this joint model to survive the crisis.  It wouldn’t be possible if Glass-Steagall were in place.
  • The universal banks, like those in Europe, are proving to be the acquirers in this crisis.
  • Academic research has effectively shown the fallacy of the original Glass-Steagall approach, which is why Bill Clinton supported the effort in 1999.  A majority of Democrats, including John Kerry & Joe Biden, voted for the final bill in 1999, as did a majority of Republicans.

The WSJ has a nice editorial here on the topic.  Marginal Revolution, as usual, has good data too.

Can someone help explain this one to me?  Is he just hitting McCain over the head with an easy talking point?  Or does he actually believe that repealling Glass-Steagall was a mistake?

This election would be a lot more enjoyable if either candidate was making any sense on economic issues.