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

latest earnings report that it’s “actively working to put together” a
subscription-based service that would hawk digital music from major record
labels to online consumers, confirming my earlier predictions on the hotbed
issue. To read my two cents on the matter click
here
.

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