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RealTime IT News

Love Letters, Hate Mail

Kelly,

Time Warner is accustomed to controlling, not contributing to, but most definitely controlling, music and print distribution methods. AOL is accustomed to controlling and censoring the Internet. It is a sad testament to society's grasp of technology that a company such as AOL could exist in today's Internet driven world. Carefully crafted intranet content and actively censored discussions. One only needs to complain that a curse word was used in an instant message to have their account turned-off and the owner, usually the parents, subjected to kissing up to and being chastised by the AOL parent before their account is allowed back on again. Let us remove the religious and moral constraints from the only truly free speech medium capable of reaching virtually the worlds population.

The merger should be denied. We, the world's population, need more multi-national powerhouses offering Internet access services to the general population in direct competition with AOL. We need more true portal/intranet sites to compete with the AOL interface. We need broadband services to replace dial-up at the scale that fax machines replaced standard mail. We need all of this before we need mega-mergers. We need to protect and encourage further development of the very nature of the Internet - freedom of speech, freedom of expression. (In response to: "AOL-Time Warner Needs to Get Done")

Thank you,
Geoffrey S.



Dear Geoffrey,

First off, let me say that I do sympathize with your free speech concerns related to the deal. But you also raise some key issues that warrant closer examination and likely supersede the importance of AOL's niggling censorship. You opined, "We need more multi-national powerhouses offering Internet access services to the general population in direct competition with AOLWe need broadband services to replace dial-up at the scale that fax machines replaced standard mailWe need to protect and encourage further development of the very nature of the Internet."

I couldn't agree more. But how we arrive to that end is the subject of much discussion. That very question is something I addressed just yesterday, highlighting the importance of this merger getting approval ("AOL-Time Warner Needs to Get Done"). I believe to accelerate the rollout of broadband Internet access to consumers in a most timely fashion, competition from an eight hundred pound gorilla like AOL-Time Warner is just what's needed to give foot-dragging corporate big-wigs a swift kick in the pants.

Make no mistake the rival powerhouses that control the fat cable pipes and copper phone lines have plenty of money to upgrade network infrastructures and market the heck out of broadband access services. But the meltdown in the markets that's subsequently crushed many nimble start-ups has created the perception that it's okay for big business to slow the pace of their own broadband rollouts.

What we're really lacking is heated competition, or as I like to say, a perceived threat. Without question, a marriage between AOL and Time Warner would be viewed by its rivals as a genuine threat to dominate the on-ramp to the high-speed information superhighway. Faced with AOL-Time Warner's ultra-aggressive broadband initiative, competitors would have to partner, consolidate, and generally accelerate their own rollouts, or have their respective lunches eaten. Under that scenario, the consumer wins.

Best of luck with your investments and have a great day!

Cheers,
Kelly

On a side note America Online last week told analysts during the ISP's



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