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Case to Step Down from AOLTW 252

Posted by michael
from the first-rat-to-flee dept.
squiggleslash writes "Reuters is reporting that Steve Case, the CEO of AOL Time Warner, is resigning, to be effective in May. He'll still be part of AOLTW but as a director responsible for joint strategy. There have been various moves afoot to oust the man who masterminded AOL's takeover of the media giant: the Time Warner part of the partnership wants control whereas Case came from the loss making super-ISP. Case quitting could be bad news for technologists given the current battles between content providers like Time Warner and the Internet and computer industries."
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Case to Step Down from AOLTW

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  • correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by keefeg (178706) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @09:32PM (#5069538)
    Actually Steve Case is chairman, Dick Parsons is the CEO.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2003 @09:33PM (#5069541)
    hope he gets a truck full of AOL cds
  • Stock price (Score:2, Funny)

    by PtM2300 (546277)
    Perhaps now I can regain some of the money I lost in the freaking stock of AOL!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2003 @09:35PM (#5069559)
    Ted Turner announced, with the help of wrestlers Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, from his former wrestling organization (World Championship Wrestling), a "New World Order" (nWo) would be taking over AOL-TW, and there's not a damn thing anybody can do about it. Turner finished his press conference by saying "You're either with us, or you're against us, and you don't want to be against us."
  • by antdude (79039) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @09:37PM (#5069566) Homepage Journal
    Here [com.com].
  • by afabbro (33948) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @09:41PM (#5069592) Homepage
    CNBC ran a show last night called "The Big Heist: How AOL Took Time Warner". Good one-hour program that went over the history of the deal and personalities involved, with interviews with leading industry figures. It's their first original content production so I'm sure it'll be on again.
  • AOL-TW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Synithium (515777) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @09:50PM (#5069625)
    AOL failed because the online advertising industry failed. After they owned this giant media company they resolved to putting even more annoying AOL commercials on TW's network and failed miserably (you can't make money off yourself). All in all I can't say I'm surprised by this move, it's long overdue.
    • Re:AOL-TW (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285)
      I am sick of these bogus excuses. We saw the fall in advertising revenue as early as 2000. As late as 2001 internet companies were still structuring deals where the only payment was shared advertising revenue. The vendor would pay the up front development costs and large commission payments to salespeople based only on anticipated furture revenue. The client was responsible for nothing. Increasingly those payment never came. In these cases, one cannot cite advertising, but negligence.

      Blaming advertising for AOL is like blaming stock prices for Enron. The fall of Enron stock indirectly caused the bankruptcy. The actual cause was systematic malfeasance within the firm. I don't know that there was malfeasance in the AOL/TW deal, but I do know a lot of deals were made to benefit specific executives and not the companies they serve.

    • AOL Failed? When did that happen? What did I miss that bit of news on WSJ?
  • by DarthWiggle (537589) <[sckiwi] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday January 12, 2003 @09:51PM (#5069628) Journal
    So my beloved Atlanta Braves can get some real funding again... *sigh*

    Oh, yeh, and because he might inject some business sense into that unfathomable catastrophe of a company.

    • Sorry. Ted Turner was too busy suing people to get them off his/their land to help at AOL/TW.

      http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/3874857.htm

      He also has to come up with the 1,000,000,000 USD he promised the UN. So don't expect him to be much help...

      • He also has to come up with the 1,000,000,000 USD he promised the UN.

        That's probably because Steve Case sucked him dry by destroying the market value of the stocks he held.

        Hrm... Maybe Ted should sue Steve...

        "Hi Steve, you've got jail."

  • by long_john_stewart_mi (549153) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:00PM (#5069670)
    I just saw AOL's new marketing plan:
    AOL is easier than ever. In fact, the hardest part about learning to use AOL is telling your parents you're gay.
  • by Amsterdam Vallon (639622) <amsterdamvallon2003@yahoo.com> on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:00PM (#5069671) Homepage
    You know what, this guy brought the very Internet that we have all grown to know and love to the homes of millions of Americans.

    He's helped all of us programmers, system administrators, and consultants earn more by adding substantially to our customer base. More computer users means more of a market for computer experts like all of us.

    I only wish they would keep him around a bit longer. Sure, they waste some CDs and packaging material, but all in all they've done us a great amount of good.
    • Your logic is flawed. You're saying:

      Millions of Americans USED AOL to connect to the Internet, therefore, these people would not have used the Internet otherwise.

      Compare:

      It's a damn good thing for the Albertson's on the corner; since I bought a lot of food from them, if they hadn't been there, I would have starved.

      Without AOL those millions would have gone somewhere else. Case doesn't deserve credit for being the lucky one.
    • Maybe 10 years ago, but to day all AOL does is shove shitty service down people's throats who don't know any better, or don't want to lose their buddy lists and old email.

      Besides, AOL isn't even the same thing as 'the internet'. And it wasn't even connected for a long time. Even today they still use propritaty protocols crap.
    • You know what, this guy brought the very Internet that we have all grown to know and love to the homes of millions of Americans.

      That's like saying that $5 a gallon generic Burgundy introduced the masses to the appreciation of fine wines. What it really did was funnel an enormous number of proudly technophobic newbies onto the Internet.

      You'll excuse me if I withhold my applause.
  • by Quaoar (614366) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:02PM (#5069677)
    ...AOL's $22.95 a month was too much even for him.
  • by slaker (53818) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:04PM (#5069684)
    (AP) Across the nation, child molesters, kiddie-porn addicts, NAMBLA Members, Catholic Priests and other pederasts dropped their pants in a moment of tribute as Steve "The Great Enabler" Case announced his resignation from AOL Time-Warner (AOLTW) today.

    Said shavedbi_86, a dude who pretends to be a chick in various online forums, as he dropped trou in an internet cafe in downtown Bangor, Maine: "Man, [Steve Case]... damn. I dunno where else I'd be able to indulge my recurring fantasies of having a minor female cross state lines to have lesbian intercourse with me, if it weren't for AOL. Under [Steve Case's] guidance, AOL has grown from a small, regional communication system for perverts in Virginia, to an international hub for child pornography. God bless you Mr. Case!"

    Law enforcement officials were also quick to comment. "Although some are quick to judge AOL for its congregation of sexual predators, we'd like to applaud Mr. Case for the family-friendly nature of his service. I myself enjoy the occasional meeting in an AOL chat room, knowing that I can trade porno in peace and security, guarded by the AOL Terms of Service from any foul-mouthed, anti-social behavior in its chat rooms", said Mr. A------t, a justice department official, on condition of anonymity.

    Said president George Bush, upon hearing of the resignation: "Whad'ya mean it's pronounced New-CLEE-er?"

    Other famous Americans, including Bugs Bunny and Superman, also expressed regret at Mr. Case's resignation.

    Mr. Case, who now prefers to be called simply "Heather", could not be reached for comment.

  • Under Steve Case, AOL was a company that took advantage of its customer's ignorance. Under Steve Case, pushed its customers in every way possible to get money from them.

    Someone said, "AOL was founded on the idea that users of the Internet need training wheels to get started." Using AOL says, "I don't have any friends who understand computers." As users get smarter, they realize they don't need AOL.

    Swallowing Time-Warner was a way of bailing out from a company on the way down, at the last moment possible.

    People who are motivated by nothing but money reduce the quality of our lives, and, unfortunately, we don't have sophisticated social responses against this kind of abuse.
    • by LostCluster (625375) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:17PM (#5069753)
      AOL, Prodigy, Compuserve, and GEnie were there first. In the early 1990s, before the Internet became popular as it was today, being on to any of those four services was the geeky place to be. Eventually, the Internet got the WWW, and eventually there was enough good content on the WWW that it became a better and less expensive way of doing things. GEnie was shutdown by GE, Prodigy converted itself into just another national ISP and after some ownership changes is now going by the name "SBC Yahoo", and CompuServe sold out to AOL and now looks more like an AOL clone than its former self. AOL is a relic from a past era that somehow made it to a world where the Internet is king.
    • Tonight, Sunday, 9:00 PM Pacific standard time on CNBC (Dish Network and other, re-broadcast): The Big Heist: AOL Took Time Warner.

      • The show on CNBC, "The Big Heist: AOL Took Time Warner" was excellent. Best quote: "AOL was a beneficiary of a once-in-a-lifetime bubble that soon came to an end".

        I was surprised at how many top executives were interviewed for the show. Sumner Redstone of Viacom and Michael Eisner of Disney are just two.

        The show came to no conclusions, however.

        What could have stopped Time Warner from making such a self-destructive merger? Ethics. If the TW executives cared about people and what AOL was doing to its customers, if they had cared about other people and not just money, they would have been protected from making the mistake.
    • Under Steve Case, pushed its customers in every way possible to get money from them.

      Actually, that was in large part due to Bob Pittman. He was the crass commercializer - and that's what he was brought in to be. (As Jim Kimsey put it, AOL needed "adult supervision.") In the old days, at least, Steve was always all about the member experience, community, doing the Right Thing. Unfortunately, he rarely seemed to hire executives who shared that vision - Pittman, Brandt, Schuler, all had Bugs Bunny dollar signs in their eyes.

      It's sad that, just as Ted Leonsis is back on top, giving new life to the old values, Steve had to step aside. This is a big blow to AOL's chances.
  • Steve's a good man (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:06PM (#5069695)
    Everyone should get off Steve's case (no pun intended). He (with the help of many coworkers) made going online a lot easier for MILLIONS of people. When's the last time you helped MILLIONS of people? Anyway, I'm sorry to see him go. I would have loved to watch Gates and him slug it out for years to come. That would have been real entertainment.
  • by Teckla (630646) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:06PM (#5069697)
    The funny thing (not in a "ha ha" way) is, he architected a fantastic failure of a merger, and will walk away a bajillionaire for having screwed up.

    -Teckla
    • by dcaulton (621302) on Monday January 13, 2003 @03:04AM (#5070726)
      Remember, he was *AOL's* CEO. From an AOL shareholder's standpoint, the merger was a steal - literally. It's the Timewarner guys and shareholders who really got screwed.
      • +38 Insightful (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mccalli (323026) on Monday January 13, 2003 @04:56AM (#5071040) Homepage
        Remember, he was *AOL's* CEO. From an AOL shareholder's standpoint, the merger was a steal - literally. It's the Timewarner guys and shareholders who really got screwed.

        Ah, one of a handful of sensible comments so far. Yes, this is the point - whilst the rest of telecoms and the .com bubble imploded with nothing, Case made sure his shareholders actually had something with value left at the end of it.

        There was a time when some net company (I forget - Amazon?) was approaching the market cap. of General Motors and had surpassed that of Boeing. That's ludicrous. Even if those companies shut up shop tomorrow there'd still be a mountain of tangible assets to fall back on. I remember the office I was in at the time saying that if the market was behaving that stupidly, then this net company take advantage and immediately buy something with tangible assets to cement its position.

        And then Case did it. He actually stopped just talking about media convergence and actually did something about it. He went with a media firm which, had things panned out as everyone expected then, would have given him the convergence and content control he needed. He also bought a argefirm with a genuine, non-bubble based market cap. thus backing up AOL's share price with a healthy dose of reality.

        I usually stay out of discussions like this because it's a sad day when geeks care more about the market than they do technology. However, I did feel that about 90% of the posters in this topic were missing the point completely.

        Cheers,
        Ian

  • by LostCluster (625375) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:08PM (#5069709)
    Has anybody thought how AOL and Time Warner stocks would have performed had the two not been married? AOL would be crashing to the point of near-zero, while Time Warner would still be hanging out with Viacom, News Corp., Disney, and the other content providers who have writen off most of their .com operations long long long ago.

    The origninal Time Warner shareholders got the shaft, as they now have to absorb AOL's downfall, while the AOL shareholders got the nice liferaft ending up with shares of Time Warner instead of another useless tech stock. Time Warner's shareholders are not happy, and they want their company back now...
    • by twitter (104583) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @11:24PM (#5070025) Homepage Journal
      You know, I get tired of hearing people complain about AOL and blame them for problems TW is having. It looks the other way around to me. When's the last time you checked out Life, Time or any other of their publications? Right, but you are on the net every day. What would you have done with the world's largest ISP? Let it sit? Right, why go for syngerny when you can ruin things and cast blame?

      Time Warner was good for AOL like having a former ATT exec on the board of @Home was good for @Home - it resulted in total ruin. The death of AOL is NOT going to convince anyone to buy a dead tree Time magazine any more than the death of @Home has slowed the move away from long distance telephone calls. Time Warner is sitting on a lot of old models and people who invest in it deserve to be pummeled. They failed entirely to take advantage of the world's largest ISP to promote themselves and change their marketing model. There's a reason no one here ever quotes Time [time.com] here, they are clueless. I hope you own lots of TW stock Mr. Cluster, you deserve it.

  • Lesser of two evils (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:10PM (#5069723)
    AOL wasn't good per se for the diversity of the internet and technical advancements, but giving the reins of the world's largest ISP to TimeWarner, a media company that has ties to organisations such as the RIAA has to be a step backwards.

    Imagine the RIAA and TimeWarner controlling AOL (to some extent, at least), thus controlling the internet experience and online-purchasing abilities of a significant fraction of internet surfers.

    Granted 'we' dislike AOLers ... "My computer says I have mail, but the mailman hasn't come yet!" ... but when they represent a large proportion of surfers, they are the ones that large corporations will want to target, and this move seems to increase their chances of doing so.

    So, what's the solution?

    VOTE RMS for AOL/TimeWarner CEO!!!
    • by numark (577503)
      Actually, after the merger, most groups were put under control of former AOL managers. A lot of Time editors balked at having a boss that didn't know a thing about paper media. Over the past few years, the AOL side of the deal has been the major force, and only in the last few months have we really seen Time Warner management take a step up. This was an orderly transition, really starting with Gerald Levin's resignation.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:12PM (#5069730)
    Okay, he made a little boo-boo and his pointless merger will cost investors quite a few billion dollars. But that's hardly cause to slap him down to Joint Strategist. What does a Join Strategist make, anyways, a few dozen million dollars per year? Yeah, I know the company is losing money, but we all make mistakes and a guy has to eat and keep the bar in his Leerjet stocked.
  • Case quitting is only **Good News**. He hobbled millions of people's development by promoting a fluffy, saccharine-coated, "HEY - you really ARE an idiot", mindless piece of trash. Sort of like what Disney did for the classics :-) Have you actually watched an AOL commercial lately?

    Steve Case did no one any favors, except maybe himself, and neither did the guy with the six-foot rat icon.
    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @11:13PM (#5069965) Homepage Journal
      Ted Turner currently has a very minor role in AOLTW. He sits on the board IIRC, but he's not exactly running anything. There's been talk of him leaving completely, he's certainly not happy there.

      Time Warner is the part of AOLTW that includes Jamie Kellner, who famously declared that PVR owners are thieves [slashdot.org] because they skip the commercials. Ironically, this person is head of the remains of what was Ted Turner's empire before it was swallowed up.

      Case came from a part of AOLTW that was built on providing consumers with access to a new technology, that marketed, packaged, and opened a network that could have remained a geek cul-de-sac. Steve Case's AOL innovated, it opened up ways of communicating from easily-built websites to user friendly instant messaging, and it even, despite Time Warner's influence, gave birth to what'll probably end up being the defacto standard file swapping system, Gnutella.

      It's sad to see him go. It's even sadder to know that there's a strong chance that AOLTW, rather than being the bulwark against DRM and other technological shackles through being on the "inside" and able to lead the fight to keep content open, will now, almost certainly, lead the way - through ownership of TW Cable and AOL - in rebuilding the Internet as a closed system.

      That's terrible news, and I hope it doesn't come to pass.

      • Time Warner is the part of AOLTW that includes Jamie Kellner, who famously declared that PVR owners are thieves [slashdot.org] because they skip the commercials. Ironically, this person is head of the remains of what was Ted Turner's empire before it was swallowed up.

        Wrong, and FUD. Granted, Kellner isn't exactly up on the current evolving digital market but he did not say PVR owners are thiefs. He said PVRs allow Advert skipping, and people who skip adverts are thiefs. He explains this in detail saying, "The programming is ad supported, when you skip those ads you are stealing programming."

        What you (and Slashdot) are saying as a typical /. metaphor: Oil funds terrorism, so all people who own cars are terrorists.
        • You know, if you actually read my comment rather than just stopping at the link, you'll see that that's implied. The comment was that he said that "PVR owners are thieves because they skip the adverts".

          That pretty much implies that the Kellner's insult wasn't directed at PVR owners who religiously watch every advert downloaded into their puny hard drives.

          But, hey, that's ok. If you want to go for an over-the-top reaction, go right ahead. Next time though, please preceed it with "*Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzt!* WRONG!!!!" in the time honoured Usenet tradition... it's more irritating that way.

          • You know, if you actually read my comment rather than just stopping at the link, you'll see that that's implied. The comment was that he said that "PVR owners are thieves because they skip the adverts".
            No, he never said that. Go back to the original 2400 article. Follow the link from the original /. story, back to the original 2600 story, which has the full quote.

            Again, if we're talking of "over-the-top reaction" I'm pretty sure that saying that someone says something that they did not say is much worse than someone correcting you. But that's fine, you're just a slashbot. If the company is in this month/years badlist, than anything that someone says must be taken out of context, summarized incorrectly, and show that person is an enemy of free speech and they kick small puppies. ...it's more irritating that way.
            So is saying things that aren't true. Then saying they are true.

            PVRs are bad for the industry in the current business model. Why? Because they allow people to skip advertisements. Why is this bad? Because the commercials are funded by advertisements. What is it when someone receives something without coming through with the payment of that? Thievery.

            Now, the point comes to show that if you just watch a show you didn't agree to watch the commercials, that's fine. It's a valid point. But, it is implied that you agree to watch the commercials in exchange for free programming. What he said was absolutely valid.

            Now, you were going to say something else to discredit yourself?
            • by autopr0n (534291)
              What is it when someone receives something without coming through with the payment of that? Thievery.

              Thievery is when someone deprives someone else of something that belongs to them.
              • Thievery is when someone deprives someone else of something that belongs to them.

                You are depriving them of something that belongs to them. Advertising dollars. I don't buy into the music piracy shit, but you are stealing free programming when you strip out all the adverts from every show you watch.

                If you try to justify getting something for nothing, by subverting the required payment, than I feel bad for you and your neighbors. You obviously fail to understand communal ethics.
                • Wether or not someone skips commercials has no effect on the money that was paid for the commercial.
                • You are depriving them of something that belongs to them. Advertising dollars. I don't buy into the music piracy shit, but you are stealing free programming when you strip out all the adverts from every show you watch.

                  No, your logic is flawed. The viewer who declines to view the advertising is not a thief as there is no commitment by the viewer to watch the commercial, just as there is no requirement that your read your junk mail--even though junk mail may subsidize our mail system. The advertizer isn't guaranteed by the distributor that you'll watch their ads...they cannot legitimately make such a representation. They are selling the OPPORTUNITY to present their ad to you. What you do when the ad is presented is up to you. It is a matter of personal choice. There is no obligation to watch. If you don't watch, then the opportunity for marketing goes away and the distributor has nothing of value to sell to the advertizer.

                  Of course, if ads no longer have value to the advertizer then in the long run the current advertising model will become outmoded. But this will not be subversion or anything illegal or immoral...it will simply be the public exercising their right of choice. It is then up to the advertizer to figure out that his chosen marketing methodology had become ineffective and that a different technique must be employed.
  • wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:21PM (#5069765)
    There's a lot of animosity here. We seem to hate Case and AOL even more than we hate Bill and M$. Wow, that seems hard to believe! Do we care that the popularization of the Internet, in part due to AOL's training wheels, has helped make companies like Redhat and Mandrake successful? Or maybe we hate them too?
    • The Crusades opened up the spice trade and information flow between East and West. This was a positive result, but certainly not caused by positive events.

      Though good may have come from AOL's existence, this does not compell us to admire the company's practices. Neither does it compell us to like Case as an individual.

      That being said, I don't know enough about Case to despise him as a person, though I know enough about AOL not to like it. But the point is that we can disparage the service while still acknowledging it's important place in the Internet's history. There is nothing hypocritical about such a view.
  • Inevitable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moankey (142715) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:23PM (#5069781)
    They have been gunning for his since day one. Entertainment biz has a entirely different culture than Internet/Technology. Where at AOL he was viewed as a god, at Time Warner he was a loud mouth, blunt speaking, jerk of sorts.
    It also doesnt help that he helped reduce many Time Warner execs, pensions, and people stocks at Time Warner from something in the 50's per share to its current 14 per share. Including helping Ted Turner turn his fortune from $8 billion to $2, sure its still a crap load of money but single handedly making $6 billion disappear is no small feat.
    • You say Entertainment biz has a entirely different culture than Internet/Technology.

      Yes this is true. You then blame Case for the decline of stock value and say,

      ... single handedly making $6 billion disappear is no small feat.

      This is also true though the blame might fall elswhere before it's all over. Was there some reason that Time content did not make it onto AOL's networks? Hmmmm, they had the world's biggest ISP and this is what they do with it? Good work boys! How much do you think Napster, MP3.com and Internet radio was worth combined? Kinda makes $6 billion look small, but the entertainment industry folks destroyed them too. They think they have something special that they can dribble out one dead tree copy after another and profit like the internet does not exist. It's not going to work but those responsible will retire very wealthy anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:33PM (#5069824)
    ...buying Time-Warner with monopoly money.

  • by rickthewizkid (536429) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @10:42PM (#5069860)
    ...."goodbye!"

    -RickTheWizKid
    I used to use AOL... then I grew up
  • by Dan93 (222999) <danielonolan&gmail,com> on Sunday January 12, 2003 @11:00PM (#5069917)
    ...but things turned out just a bit differently. As a former AOL employee, I can tell you that while it started out with AOL taking over Time Warner,it's slowly started to turn around. How many former Time Warner executives now work for AOL? Quite few, yet for some reason, very, very few of the former AOL execs, now work for TW.
  • Too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gumber (17306)
    I was never fond of AOL, but at least Steve Case wasn't "one of them" (old-media type).
  • Long Overdue! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    As an ex-AOL employee who lost a lot of money
    on AOL stock (my fault, I didn't sell early enough),
    I am glad to see this announcement.

    Steve, if Barry Schuler is still there, tell him to
    take a hike. His arrogance and incompetence
    played a major part in the current woes of AOL.

  • by sean23007 (143364) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @11:15PM (#5069980) Homepage Journal
    Everyone seems to be acting as if this is important. I, however, cannot seem to fathom why it matters who is at the helm of one of the world's worst ISPs. Will AOL abandon all the crap that made them so successful? Will Time Warner renounce the RIAA and MPAA and say it's all about the consumer? Will anything really change?

    On a simpler note, maybe someone can answer this question: is this good or bad for the geek community here at Slashdot?
  • Anyone who says Steve Case sucks is a goon.

    Everyone here is bitching about how much AOL sucks, and it does, but I have to admit, it got my mom, my dad, and my granparents online. They can't figure out Windows, let alone Linux, or installing software, or getting themselves on Earthlink. They don't really understand IE, the concept of a browser or email program outside of AOL, or search engines.

    Sure, you could argue that AOL handicapped them and that is WHY they don't get it, but I maintain, living hundreds of miles away, that AOL GOT them online.

    So, as much as it r^H shapes your knowledge of the internet, it still does a lot for many millions of people. All of this blossomed under Mr. Case. I have to give Steve's effort an A.
    • You deserve to be modded up, but don't hold your breath. You're preaching inclusiveness for non-geeks on the interent, and that doesn't go over well here. I think AOL should be despised in some ways, but not for the reasons most people think. I have no problem that they got millions of people with no clue about computing on the internet in a quick, easy, productive fashion. They deserve points for that.

      What provokes my ire is that they also helped herald the age of spam, popup ads, and rampant commercialism without ethics. Spammers are well-known to use AOL addresses...they're easy to steal. AOL pioneered the practice of constantly marketing things to you via annoying popup ads while you're working/surfing. Ever seen an AOL session? It's a constant barrage of "Try this!" and "special deal for you!" ads. And the very large market of "dumb" users attracted spammers and porn mavens, like a pack of wolves zeroing in on a herd of cattle.

      AOL served a purpose, but I won't mourn it's passing.
  • We need AOL. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @11:25PM (#5070031) Homepage Journal
    Seriously folks, let's not do too much AOL bashing here. AOL is one of the giants of the tech industry -- one of the few big enough to hold its own against Microsoft. That's saying a lot. Their 35 million subscriber base dwarfs MSN's.

    What would the Internet look like if those 35 million were MSN subscribers? Do you honestly expect the Internet would be nearly as open as it is today? We might have that closed-loop that Gates envisioned in the original version of The Road Ahead.

    Although I'm not an AOL subscriber myself, I for one am glad it's there, and I hope they continue to retain their sizable lead in the ISP market. We need that balance.

    And let's not forget that AOL funds the bulk of Mozilla development. I show my thankfulness for that by using the branded Netscape browser and patronizing the branded Netscape portal. You should, too.
    • Do you honestly expect the Internet would be nearly as open as it is today?

      Have you ever actually used AOL?

      Do you even know what open means?

      hint: open is not AOL
  • by Selanit (192811) on Sunday January 12, 2003 @11:51PM (#5070126)
    AOL has its serious downsides, I'll admit it. But they have also done some really good stuff. The prime example of this is Mozilla. Yes, the open-source web browser that is so justly celebrated on this site is backed by AOL. An awful lot of the main developers are AOL employees, and that fast connection that mozilla.org sits on is provided by AOL.

    That makes up for one heck of a lot in the way of crappy customer service, if you ask me. Mozilla is as good as it is largely because there is an actual paid development team that works on it professionally. So don't be too quick to shout "Hurrah!" if AOL melts down.
  • Dispute (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp&Gmail,com> on Monday January 13, 2003 @12:14AM (#5070199) Homepage Journal
    I have to dispute the thread about the causes for AOL's impending demise. The assumption seems to be that AOL is dying because it's users are getting more net-savy, and moving to "real" ISPs. I don't think so. AOL's doom can be explained in one word.

    Broadband.

    AOL is a dial-up beast. From beginning to end, it was designed as a one-stop-shopping place to get internet access, web surfing, email, and chat services. The user didn't have to configure much of anything. Just run the setup, and you're on. Everything in one, neat, tidy, and USEFULL package. To so many people, it WAS the internet.

    While some users wised up and moved on, most AOLers were quite happy to stay put. Then broadband came along. And those same users discoverd that for just a few dollars more than their AOL bill, they could get blazingly fast internet access. Access from a familiar and trusted source (their phone company or cable tv provider). Yes, other means of access were availabe in the dial-up sphere, but users were happy with what they had.

    Cable and Phone companies beat AOL to the broadband game, and the jig was up. Even to the AOL faithful, it was apparent that they were no longer the primary means of access to the web. And a giant mental perception in this country came crumbling down. The internet now means Charter, or Verizon, or Bellsouth, or Knology. It doesn't mean AOL in the age of broadband. The perception has now changed. That perception was AOL's most powerful marketing tool. Broadband, since it's on all the time, is pretty much as easy to use as AOL. You don't have to turn it on. Just click an icon for what you need, and bam!, you're there. It's better than the old days for most users, actually.

    Yes, those users were told they could still get AOL for an EXTRA ten bucks or so, but by then, why bother? That mental block has been destroyed. AOL is no longer synonymous with access. It was the gateway in. No longer.
  • Cousin (Score:2, Informative)

    by craw (6958)
    Just one note. Ed Case (Steve's cousin) is the new Congressman from Hawaii.
  • The bubble popped
    now Steve is chopped

    Without a doubt,
    Time's run out

    For all he built,
    a crazy quilt

    that got too big,
    became a pig

    now Case is gone,
    (I think I'll yawn)

    *sorry*
    *hey! I've got spell checking in Safari in the comment box!! Woo hoo!*

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson

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