Mercury News’ Coverage on Web 2.0.

Andreessen commented on users getting “locked” into services. I know that after using My Yahoo! Calendar for many years that I’d be very very reluctant to change as it is my history of past calendar for future reference. On the other hand I probably should print it all out, scan it to .pdf, and store it on my hard drive anyways. Switching calendars would be a pain as certainly switching email is. Sometimes swtiching email can be refreshing though as all of a sudden the spam goes away… for a while.

Web users locked in? Andreessen is worried that Internet users are getting locked into disadvantageous relationships with companies.

Andreessen said Internet companies are implicitly locking users into long-term relationships by not allowing them to move their profiles and other information from one company to another. EBay, Yahoo and other companies have user profiles that are not portable. And a raft of Internet companies have recently unveiled services intended to entice people to store bookmarks, search histories and other vital pieces of information on their servers.

“Even transferring mail from one service provider to another is strikingly hard,” Andreessen said, characterizing some Internet companies as “plantation owners.” “Most of the large Internet companies are closed, and it makes sense because there are business advantages. But it’s a form of lock-up for the next 10 years.”

In a later session, Yang dismissed the lock-in argument.

“The data they’ve given us, the preferences,” he said, “that’s their thing and if they want to take it somewhere else, I don’t think anyone can stop them.”

Andreessen also said he believed Google was being “led by its nose” into a battle with Microsoft. And who’s doing the leading? The media, users and the Web community, he said.

“Everyone is spoiling for a fight. I’ve seen it before,” he said, alluding to his famed browser battle with Microsoft.