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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 00:36 GMT 01:36 UK
Web pioneer has high Scots hopes
John Giannandrea
Mr Giannandrea as high hopes for Scotland
A web pioneer believes Scotland could be at the forefront of the "next big thing" for the internet.

Scottish-born John Giannandrea, former chief technologist at Netscape, left Scotland to start his US career more than a decade ago.

He returned to Edinburgh this week to speak at the ScotlandIS global technology forum.

He told BBC Scotland it was now all about small companies and individuals rather than multi-nationals.

Netscape was one of the first web browsers and its New York listing in 1995 kicked off the boom in dot com companies, as people realised that the "world wide web" allowed you to buy and do just about anything.

There's no structural reason why the next big thing can't come from Europe
John Giannandrea

The dot com bubble burst five years later and many of the early companies folded.

Netscape was eventually out-flanked by Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser but the internet had become an integral part of everyday life.

The IT sector in Scotland employs about 70,000 people.

Mr Giannandrea, a Strathclyde University graduate, is now chief technology officer and co-founder of Metaweb Technologies.

He said there was no reason why Scotland could not be at the forefront of one of the next "big things" for the internet.

Netscape logo
Netscape was the first web browser

"Over the last five years, I've been corresponding more and more with people in Scotland who are working on similar things," he said.

"Ten or 15 years ago it was all about the big multi-nationals in Silicon Valley and Scotland's so called 'Silicon Glen'.

"Now it's all about small companies and individuals, so there's no structural reason why the next big thing can't come from Europe."

Companies like Skype and Facebook are now doing particularly well.

Mr Giannandrea said the valuable assets in these companies are the contributions from individuals around the world.

"More than a billion people are on the internet today. It's growing at approximately 50% a year and most of this growth is outside the United States now, mainly in Europe and Asia," he added.

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