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FCC Staff Back AOL-Time Warner Deal 82

Donavan writes "Yahoo Finance is reporting that the merger between AOL and Time Warner has been reccomended for approval."
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FCC Staff Back AOL-Time Warner Deal

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  • I totally agee with your imfatic NOOOOOO!!! about this merger. People thought Microsoft was screwing the consumer!!!

    This will be worse!!

    This conglomerate woulld not only be able to tell people how to get the content they would control the content.

    The FTC is supposed to protect the consumer from things like this but I guess alot of money wins again. If we do not watch out we will have to go through another very costly Anti-trust trial for Time Warner-AOL in a few years!!

  • True. But it indicates that the initial leaning is to approve the merger if certain conditions are accepted.

    I think this merger is a bad idea. AOL already wants it's users to think that *it's* the Internet. I can only imagine what would happen when the new company also owns all the content. I'm afraid AOL/TW users would only see what AOL/TW wants them to. I don't know that other sites would be blocked, but I imagine it would certainly be harder to get to them.
  • What exactly do you mean by "proprietarize" the movie & music industry?

    Just look around, you'll see that Time Warner is a member of the RIAA and MPAA, which means that they want to proprietarize the formats (i.e., shun MP3 and go for SDMI). They are already screwing with the DVDs; my copy of The Green Mile won't let me jump to a chapter until I stop that stupid WB logo thing and press play AGAIN.

    How are you figuring that their broadband service will get a crappy ping?

    By the very well known fact that AOL makes its users connect with a proprietary protocol (AOLNet) which is translated to TCP by a very unstable network adapter emulator. On the same hardware that would get a 200 ping with standard PPP, an AOL connection usually never goes below 400ms. Also, webpages and UDP transmissions are routed through AOL's main servers, cached there, then transferred to the user (case in point, AOL's FTP client which shows a "Downloading 144K..." before you download the actual file. With this setup, AOL users can only play a Q2 multiplayer game for 30 seconds before the connection is lost. Heretic 2 works, but it really stinks. Same for Quake 3. Also, users are FORCED to use AOL on Windows 9X or MacOS(Windows 2000 can run AOL almost perfectly; the "AOL adapter" won't load as a true network adapter, so the Internet is inaccessible). Also, have you ever noticed that the Mac side of AOL gets treated a whole lot better than the PC side? That's because Steve Case is a Mac user; always was, always will be. There are even rumors of him consorting with Steve Jobs (in more ways than one). AOL's legacy of hypocrisy will eventually be its downfall; look at their commercials ("AOL is about security"), and then read the thousands of stories about hackers breaking into AOL and stealing personal information (as easy as fish in a barrel).

  • It's not as if you can easily avoid either one as it is, but together,

    You're just jealous because They are successful, aren't you?

  • The Time Warner/AOL pseudo-merger is probably like any other merger today.

    Companies use the word "merger", I think, to make it look like a nice marriage. But one thing I've noticed about all these "mergers" (which used to be called "takeovers" or in extreme cases, "hostile takeovers"), they really are still takeovers. In the AOL/TW thing, who is taking over who?

    Look at other so-called mergers: Amoco and BP. It was really a takeover of Amoco by BP. Boeing and McDonnell Douglas was touted as a merger - but it was really a hostile takeover by Boeing (notice how Boeing asset-stripped MD and ceased production of all MD designs, except the MD-95 which got renamed the Boeing 717...and production of this aircraft will be short-lived).

    Why can't corporations be honest and call these moves by their proper name - a takeover? Perhaps because the sheeple^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hpeople out there will realise that the number of players has gone down by one...competition has gone down...and these companies are striving to eat all the others up until there is only one big company. Like my Dad always tells me: there are no marriages in businesses, only rapes.

    Roll on Microsoft-Boeing-BP/Amoco-AOL-TimeWarner-TotalFina Elf-United-American-Verizon-AT&T-Sony. Perhaps the legislators might take notice when the company name gets so long it takes three lines just to type it out ;-)

  • However, I do worry that this much media under one thumb could make mainstream media even worse.

    The biggest thing that bugs me about all this is that so many people whine that Microsoft shouldn't be broken up because they were just "successful", even though their "success" was due to breaking the law. Yet at the same time they say that it's wrong for 2 successful companies to want to be more successful.

    I find this the height of all hypocrisy. Let's punish companies that break the law by breaking them up. But if a company is successful, let's let them be more successful as long as they haven't broken the law. Neither AOL or Time Warner has been proven to have broken the law. So if they believe that the deal will make them be more successful, then they should be free to do it.

  • This is a huge benefit.

    open access will increase service?
    i wonder.

    right now my @Home cable connection is as fast as the LAN at work (of course, @Home is a kind of WAN, since i'm always on and can access information inside or outside, "installation" just means adding my computer to their network).

    but every time i read an article talking about the higher demand for broadband i get nervous about ATT screwing up their growth projections and getting clogged like AOL a couple years ago. and what about these other ISPs? how much will the overall speed of the eventual infrastructure be limited by the aggregate of podunk operations' crappy hardware all accessing the lines simultaneously?
    whenever anyone asks me if they should go with dsl or cable, i tell them, "definitely dsl. i have cable and the um, service is, er.. terrible, yeah. don't sign up for cable or you'll regret it -- and tell all your friends to tell all their friends not to sign up for cable either." (short-sighted i know, but i'll just jump ship in a few years if cable gets displaced anyway -- kinda like the internet analogue of Suburban Sprawl [])

    If, now, other ISPs are signing up users on the exact same infrastructure as my ATT service -- will they be required to report usage numbers to ATT? Since it is ATT that owns/manages the cables, won't they need to know this information in order to keep the architecture ahead of the population?
    Maybe it won't matter. Since, unlike a dial-up which is a direct connection between your pc and the ISP, everyone will be on the same physical network -- what are the security issues as far as how ISPs might be able to track each others' traffic?

    New .sig?? Slashdot Mantra: "Information wants to be Free"
    FBI Mantra: "Information wants to be Freeh's []"

    the problem with teens is they're looking for certainties
  • Bah. Read more carefully. FCC, not FTC.

  • Just look around, you'll see that Time Warner is a member of the RIAA and MPAA, which means that they want to proprietarize the formats
    ("AOL is about security"), and then read the thousands of stories about hackers breaking into AOL and stealing personal information (as easy as fish in a barrel).

    I honestly didn't know all this..... Live and learn I guess...

    I still will argue about content not vanishing because of this merger, but I think I'll take back all my comments about going easy on AOL......

    How long does it take to get sued by the MPAA?

  • Firstly you're right, Microsoft should not be broken up because they are successfull.

    But they should be broken up for breaking the law, being a monopoly in the computing field, obusing their monopoly to weaken their opponents (For example giving IE away free to weaken netscape, using the classic monopoly tactic of cross subsidisation)

    Whilst neither AOL or Time Warner have broken the law, it could be argued that have a near monopoly in areas of the media and that the proposed merger would not be in the publics interest (basically what the EEC was debating recently)

    Didn't you ever wonder why all those 'free' AOL trials require your credit card details (Obviously free as in speech then....)
  • the government agencies will be powerless to control a media conglomerate this big if they do something illegal.

    That wasn't, and still doesn't seem to be a concern with Microsoft. So, why should they stop one company, and not another.

    If AOL/Time Warner eventually breaks Anti-trust law, tehn they should get the same right to drag a court case out for years and years like MS did.

  • All you people over the years always ragging on Microsoft for being too big. You regreted letting it get that large and swore you would not let let happen again. You casted your eyes so much so upon Microsoft that you let an even bigger Monopoly form.


    I think half the Napster users in America have just become Time Warner's bitches.

    Where do you want it today? (Insert Evil Laughter Here)
  • slashdot... you post these stories about how horrible the fcc is and everything else yet you steadfastly refuse to post a story about the protest effort going on against them and the NAB in san francisco this week. why? don't want to seem too radical and ruin your chances of being bought out by someone REALLY big? fuck slashdot!
  • The DOJ/MS lawsuit brought down every tech stock on the market except for MSFT.

    Have you taken a look at MSFT stock recently? It is around 65 dollars. That's about half of the value it had at the beginning of the year, before the final ruling.


  • Yeah, and where is Caldera? Redhat? They're at 20% of where they were at the beginning of the year. What about Gateway, Dell, Sun, VA Linux et al? They're far below where they were at the begininning of the year too. The whole technology market is down. MSFT is down, but it's down less than most of the other computer stocks.

  • I don't know, the Illuminati-esque @-sign in a pyramid still seems appropriate ;)
  • Hey, personally, I love it. Corporations have taken over this country's government, it's nice to see they can't yet attack a *coalition* of governments.

    It's sad, but I have been finding myself more and more often rooting for people who want to take this country's economy and flush it down the shitter. Why? If the economy collapses then a depression will ensue. A depression is the only thing that'll get americans out of their own little private stupors and remove the people from power who have quietly stolen all their rights and given them the crumbs of capitalism - the big screen TVs and SUVs.. when the things that are important like health insurance and retirement (social security / welfare) get axed.

    Yeah, horray for the EU.. go kick some yankee ass. Maybe I'll move there and pretend I love the prince and replace my swearing with bloody this and bloody that.

    *sigh* Where are the patriots of this country when one really needs them? Busy preparing for armageddon in mountana, instead of here, online, fighting the real revolution.


  • Their stock ownership is probably the easiest thing to regulate, so it's not likely that they're benefitting from stock purchases or sales. More likely, they get favours in return or they are guaranteed a job in industry if they go along with the ruse.
  • Well, I think you're mistaken that the European Union supercedes the FCC, where each have distinct yet seperate duties.

    The FCC really isn't supposed to look after the welfare of the consumer. It's basically supposed to ensure that the communications resources are managed properly.

    On the other hand the article you linked says, "The snag adds to worries expressed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is prepared to block the proposed $125 billion deal unless the companies agree to let competing services use their high-speed cable lines.".

    Which would suggest that not just the European Union is interested in blocking the deal.

    What this all boils down to, is I agree with you, it doesn't matter what the FCC thinks, but for different reasons.

    You see, it would be like the EPA approving a merger between BP and Amoco (a recent oil industry merger for those wondering). It's immaterial, and isn't up to them.

  • I told all my friends (that's right, all 2 of them... *snicker*) that I won't even SEND email to an AOL account. It's a double boycott - I won't use AOL, and I won't support the computing habits of those who do.
  • And, as pointed out, this is the FCC - Federal Communications Commission. They can't say anything about anti-trust or monopolies, but they can decide that if an AOL/TW merger does not overly burder the communications market.

    The merger still can't happen in the US until the FTC - Federal Trade Commission - says that it can, and as reported before, they're putting a bit of pressure on the deal [] to make sure that AOL/TW would play fair with others.

  • The FTC is supposed to protect the consumer from things like this but I guess alot of money wins again

    The FTC hasn't made a recommendation yet, though many people have posted links that they have reservations, and want assurances that the combined company will open its' cable lines to competitors.

    The story is about the FCC, who, as others have also pointed out, is almost irrelevant to the issue. The FCC is primarily responsible for allocation of radio spectrum. They have other duties, but protection of consumer interests isn't one of them. That's the (supposed) job of the FTC.

    Clear as mud?
  • On the other hand, this could open up cable modem access for ISP's that might not be able to compete in this market otherwise.
  • You're just jealous because They are successful, aren't you?

    Be careful how you use that word. For many, successful means more than having money or power.
  • Interesting situation. AT&T bought up MediaOne. MediaOne wanted to get brodband every where it could, but local telcos didn't want to lay fiber. MediaOne decided to screw waiting for the telcos to get off their lazy asses ( US West is now Quest! ) and lay the fiber themselves. First they fired up digital calbe, shortly followed by two-way cable, taking a big dent out of US West (is now Quest!)'s DSL market.

    MediaOne planned on offering telephone serverice over their newly laid fiber as well, and since AT&T bought them, I'm sure that hasn't changed.

    Now the really interesting part. Internet access. MediaOne and TimeWarner both offer the same service, Road Runner. I belive this service is a MediaOne spawn, so I'm sure AT&T isn't incredibly happy having to share with TimeWarner, but I like Time Warner's flavor of Road Runner, as I have yet to hit a limit of dynamic IP's I can pull.

    That's a breif and under-informed summery of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro...
  • ``Let the market work. If people don't want to use AOL/TW products, they don't have to - there is competition for both in every market''

    In some areas of the U.S., the choice may be to put up with AOL/TW or have no internet access at all (or have to go with slow dial up or more expensive means of getting connected). Why do I suspect that that's a choice you wouldn't want to be forced to make?

  • There was a show on Nick, Rocko's Modern Life, which referred to some humongous corporation as Conglomo, which pretty much ran everything - funny

    In Alien there was "the company" - not funny, but intriguing

    There's this common theme of fear in our literature of some big capitalist entity controlling every aspect of our lives, from media to where we can go today. Probably best exemplified by the Zaibatsus of Japan (Nissan ran Manchuria prior to and during WWII) cradle to grave handling of people. We're heading that way, IMHO, and the FCC, which is empowered (or should be) by the people is letting it happen. I certainly hope there's some plan in the FCC to guarrantee something to the effect of public access over these things. Perhaps it's best to look over your shoulder at this behavior the next time someone in the House warms up the privitazation of PBS topic.

    Seems to me that a cooperative effort between PBS, NPR and FREENET would be the ticket.

    It's all true! ±5%
  • Mega-corporations like AOL and Time-Warner have only gotten as big as they have because of government interference.

    Imagine a world without local cable and telephone monopolies. In such a world, potential rivals to Time-Warner and AOL could have been much more creative and we would likely have more competition today. Instead, by giving these types of corporations a helping hand, government has a responsibility to protect us if it turned out to be too much of a boost-up.

    I would like to live in a world with less government interference, but they can start but interfering less with the little guys, instead of interfering less with the titans.

    You can't allow mad scientists to build monsters out of hanged criminals and then ban torches and pitchforks.

  • Personally, I think this is a good thing. I'm far from a big fan of AOL or Time-Warner, but I'm an even smaller fan of the government trying to regulate everything.

    Since when is it the government's responsibility to police companies that might, in the future, break the law? The government thinks that because AOL/Time-Warner could become such a large company that they might do what MS did, they should regulate MS now.

    Look at what the government accomplished with the MS trial. MS is still the same company it is today. It's still purchasing smaller competitors as fast as it can. The DOJ/MS lawsuit brought down every tech stock on the market except for MSFT.


  • This looks irrelevant. Did the person to whom you are responding say anything positive about the Baby Bell monopolies? It is easier to prevent a monopoly from forming than to eliminate one that is already in existence. Most US law on the matter is geared to doing this rather than engineering break-ups or regulation. Hence in advocating an active anti-trust policy, it seems perfectly consistent to worry about AOL/TW first.

    Now I'm going to rant in a manner not necessarily directed at you: I've often wondered why phone/cable lines shouldn't be opened to competitors. The Baby Bells and cable companies have their wires on land that they don't own---by grace of local and state governments. Even barring anti-trust action, we are not living in a libertarian paradise; the government has already intervened on behalf of the monopoly. This is a substantial government conceived barrier of entry for competitors. It seems that the "pure" free-market solution to access of diverse services from cable/telephone monopolies would be to let private property owners rent out the land and refuse to rent it out if they are not receiving the services they want.

    Do the pure libertarians among us really feel that private individuals should be able to do this? If so, I'll give them points for consistency, if not practicality. Otherwise, I'll have to say that much of the more rabid free-market hype I see on this issue is just that, hype.

    FWIW, I'm fairly enthusiastic about free markets myself and I'm not particularly against big business. But I do see an important role for antitrust law, particularly in cases where government has already helped in setting up a "natural" monopoly.

  • That's just it though - the government agencies will be powerless to control a media conglomerate this big if they do something illegal. They effectively control the thoughts of 90% of the population - the unthinking, lemming-like, sheepclones that believe in any such crap fed them by the media. The government becomes essentially irrelevant after this move. Think about it...
  • I think that that scenario is a valid and desirable one.

    What most people want from the internet is an easy to use search feature with easy to understand results and sites combined with a fun entertainment tool, kind of like interactive TV with 10,000 or so channels.

    That is something that TW/AOL can readily provide, and do a reasonable job of.

    Peole are not generally looking for all of the freedoms the internet provides. Nor are they looking for true control over what is available, only percieved control through greater choice and light interaction.

    Very few people will ever make full use of the communications potential of the internet. It's a lot of work for us people who know something about computers, let alone avg jane/joe who just wants to email chain letters and memos and occasionally surf for news or porn or other entertainment.

    What jane and joe want is AOL with limited, higher quality channels to choose from. Why should we stop TW/AOL from giving it to them.


    We must ensure that the internet remains available for anyone to use as long as they actually want to. This will relegate most of the entertainment/tv traffic through the networks of TW and leave real communications more space on the general internet. We'll lose some bandwidth in the deal, but we'll also be rid of lots of trafic and people who have no real desire to be involved with the internet.

  • If the economy collapses then a depression will ensue. A depression is the only thing that'll get americans out of their own little private stupors and remove the people from power who have quietly stolen all their rights and given them the crumbs of capitalism...

    Actually, what tends to happen in a depression is that the little investors have their life savings destroyed as the value of their stock holdings plummet. Then the big fish just come in and scoop up all those "great buys".

    It's happened many times before, and it will continue to happen.

    Big-ass investors don't really care about depressions - depressions is opportunity time for those guys.

    And this is just one reason why your average Joe is relatively powerless, ineffectual, and apathetic.


  • I find it slightly disturbing that the Federal Communications Commission doesn't even seem to comment on disproportionate control of communication that a mega-merger like this would result in.

    At the same time, I find the thought of giving US Government inc. power to control a gigantic entity like this.

    I find it disturbing that so few people (among the general populace) seem to even realize this is going on, let alone understand what it could mean.

    Finally, I find it disturbing that I'm too old to have all the answers anymore, so I don't have even a ridiculous, self-serving solution to the problem.

    Therefore, all I can say is - HELP!

    Joe Sixpack is dead!
  • Aren't these guys big enough already?? Seems like too many eggs in one basket for me to feel comfortable with this. It's not as if you can easily avoid either one as it is, but together, I might as well have their logos on my bed sheets.

  • Won't it be a problem if the companies are merged in the US, but not in Europe. Seems kinda wierd...
  • by manichawk ( 154084 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @03:41AM (#764736)
    ... that the European Commission has yet to decide whether such a merger would be legal in Europe...
  • by Blue Weirdo ( 178504 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @03:47AM (#764737)
    what do people thing of this part "The Federal Trade Commission in Washington and the European Union in Brussels, are also reviewing the deal. Both agencies harbour strong concerns about the merger amid growing worry that too much video programming, Internet content and music is controlled by too few corporate hands." Reading between the lines, maybe, just maybe someone may have noticed the power that RIAA and MPAA have been displaying in their respective cases (Napster, Well power is not the right word, "thirst for control" maybe.
  • damn... that would be 'think', not 'thing'. Guess I didn't thing.., I mean think. sigh.
  • I wonder how many people in the FCC have and/or just bought AOL/Time Warner stock ...
  • by tetrad ( 131849 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @03:44AM (#764740)
    It doesn't matter what the FCC thinks, if the European Union eventually blocks the deal [], as many expect it to do.

    Man, you got to feel sorry for these multi-billion dollar, global corporations. They have to hire lobbyists in *so* many countries...

  • if the EU doesn't allow it? Nothing,since the FCC recommends it only with major conditions then their whole proposal is going to have to change if they want to trade everywhere.


  • I really wonder what AT&T thinks about all of this to do with AOL and Time Warner. AOL is a competitor of AT&T in both the home internet and long distance telephone market. Will they bury the hatchet and play nice and make money together or will AT&T pull out of Time Warner?
  • Warner Brothers is a member of the RIAA [] as well as the MPAA [].
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If anyone had bothered to read the article they would realize that the FCC doesn't back the merger yet. They haven't even decided on the conditions of the merger.
  • Don't all big corps get to do what they want these days?

    This will be so good for me as a consumer, yah sure... Maybe the EU is not as corrupt.

    Now playing near you: Damien Part XVI - Steve Case. The plot is about how Steve beats Bill Gates to the punch in the race to bring Armageddon to fruition. Steve will play himself, as he looks just like the guy who played Damien in the previous movies.

  • by jjr ( 6873 )
    As long as they follow the rules that the FCC and
    the European Union set before they should not have
    a problem. When they start beating up on to many
    people. Then they we all need need to step in and
    speak up.
  • Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these! Oh...wait...
  • You're just jealous because They are successful, aren't you?

    And you're jealous because the voices in my head only speak to me!!!


    September 21, 2000

    MediaBusters Inc.
    391 Pipeline Rd.
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Canada R2P 2T4

    Media concentration has gone far enough. The sham of government regulation is over. MediaBusters announces the Global Media Consumer's Union -- offering bulk copying and redistribution of copyrighted content available at a fraction of the price of the original. All proceeds support local community development, anti-intellectual property lobbying, and legal defense initiatives. Sign up now at [].

    -- 30 --

  • Slashdot extolls the virtues of the free markets whenever the story refers to one of their darling companies (VA, Google, etc), but otherwise the comments resemble pathetic pleas for big government to manage your lives.

    There is no reason for any government to block the marger of these two companies. What the US and European governments aer doing should disgust you - the governments are extorting the companies and their shareholders to achieve some ill-defined vision of a ordered and regulated telecom industry that is subservient to national interests. This is wrong, and if it were two linux companies that were being scrutinized, you people would be beside yourselves in disgust.

    Let the market work. If people don't want to use AOL/TW products, they don't have to - there is competition for both in every market, and it is unclear whether such a merger will even be effective.

  • Well, I think you're mistaken that the European Union supercedes the FCC, where each have distinct yet seperate duties.

    No, I'm not saying that the EU supercedes the FCC. My point is that there's a whole slew of agencies, in many countries, that must approve this deal for it to be successful. If one group of regulators decides the deal should not go through, then in all likelihood, it won't. Even if the FCC does approve the merger, the merger won't happen if the EU blocks it. (and vice-versa.)

  • Oh, Christ.

    Because it's so inevitable that one company can control what is seen on the internet.

    If you believe that, then you've got far worse problems.
  • by Brian Kendig ( 1959 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @04:37AM (#764753) Homepage
    The United States government likes big business. The Federal Trade Commission is not in the business of shooing away eight-hundred-pound gorillas. This is capitalism at work, and America doesn't want to stifle it and give foreign corporations the opportunity to swoop in and take the glory.

    The AOL/TW deal will go through. The only question is how many concessions will be made by AOL/TW in the process of getting the deal through. That's the only purpose of this elaborate dance going on right now.

    I think that hackers, as a general rule, tend to dislike seeing any one entity gain dominance in an area. Whenever a company gets too big, true geeks get worried. The American legal system works differently, however; the idea of 'innocent until proven guilty' still permeates the system. The proposed merger of AOL/TW can't be blocked based on the problems they could cause. Instead, all that can be done is to take all the necessary legal precautions, have all the right people sign all the right promises, then set the behemoth free... and then if it gets out of line, the task begins to rein it in.

    I believe that AOL/TW won't quickly or intentionally start to test its legal limits -- it sees what's going on with Microsoft, and the last thing it wants to have happen would be for any legal precedent set in the Microsoft case to be applied in turn to AOL/TW.

  • Dang! I wish it was the Justice Department instead of just the FCC.

    This merger will be the best thing since fried bread for people like you and I. Think of it, all the consumerish suzy-does-it it-was-good-enough-for-dad,-so-it's-good-enough-fo r-me me-tooing monkey-see-monkey-do banner-clicking morons all in one place, and we can call that place AOL/Time-Warner.

    Shouldn't be too hard to map it out. We can all share, kind of like the spam black hole list. Mark it and block it. Think of what it would be like to have Usenet back again. Or not have to pay a fortune on bandwidth charges to a web site simply because a gaggle of AOL gradeschoolers thought there were cool scripts there.

    Of course, they could block us, but is this bad thing? If you have content, they will want it, no question about that. Just be sure to charge them enough...

  • there will be many greased palms in the EC.

    The train is a-comin', and nuthin's gonna stop it. Dig your bomb shelters now.
  • Well, maybe you don't know this but the original purpose of "the great depression" was to get property out of the hands of land-owners, and into the hands of the banks. Worked very well. I think a depression will have the opposite effect you're hoping for.
  • Hey! FCC! How about NOT approving a merger, just for the hell of it? I know it's a weird idea for you, but you DON'T exist just for the convienience of the multinationals here.

  • All I know is, I was a Compuserve subscriber until recently, and back at the time AOL bought CIS, Compuserve was JUST starting to get good, and switch over to a more internet-centric service, then AOL took over, and it went to hell. I stayed on because I got it free thru work. But connect speeds went down, local numbers evaporated, of course the content also disappeared because people left CIS in droves, so nobody showed in the chatrooms anymore, nobody posted files anymore. Then, for some reason, the time it took to dial into a server multiplied tenfold, so if you wanted to get on the internet, it was an affair that took upwards of 5 minutes or longer if you had to do any retries. Spontaneous disconnects, etc. I thought it was the phone lines, I thought it was my modem.

    Then work cancelled my CIS account - and I signed up for Earthlink. I now connect first-time, every time, in about 10-20 seconds, and I don't get randomly disconnected, (which, on CIS took about 10 minutes, first the connection would slow way down, sometimes pick up again, then slow down, then stop, with occasional bursts, then nothing until the dreaded timeout, and disconnect).

    Of course, I shun cable, and DSL is not yet available where I live, so I'm still 56k-ing my way, but Earthlink made it sooooo much more tolerable.
  • I don't recall whining, and I specifically didn't mention MS. Mentioning MS in every article (popular in /. for a while now) makes it difficult to read each story/post with a fresh perspective.

    Also I never said it was wrong for them to merge, just that it worried me. And more power to them for not *being caught* doing anything illegal, but these types of investigations are at least in part designed to decide if the merger would create a monopoly or not. Considering the % of media that each of these guys hold, I would be inclined to say yes.

  • You casted your eyes so much so upon Microsoft that you let an even bigger Monopoly form.

    Don't be silly! We're protected from the monopoly by competition from ...uh... M$NB Disney-ABC ...ah... Viacom-Infinity-CBS-WebTV OH SHUT UP!!!! geez.

    It's all true! ±5%
    1. Because it's the government's Constitutional responsibility to regulate interstate commerce.
    2. Any corporation is a creation of the government; the act of incorporation is done through the government. The government has a responsibility to regulate its creations and prevent them violating the rights of the government's constituents.
    3. It's much better for everyone to prevent the possibility of a crime rather than simply to punish it, where this can be done without violating anyone's rights. Corporations have no natural rights to be violated. If the government can prevent a crime by regulating a corporation, it damn well should.

    Remember, corporations have no *right* to exist. We allow them to exist because they're the most effective means of (not the word I'm looking for, but...) distribution of capital we've found. If allowing a corporation to exist causes more harm than good, that corporation should not be allowed to exist.

  • by AFCArchvile ( 221494 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @03:56AM (#764762)
    This will only further proprietarize the music and movie industry, turning Time Warner into yet another Sony. Similar to the situation after Disney bought/formed (I can't remember which) the GO Network and had all ABC programs advertising it, you'll probably see a hell of a lot more advertisements for AOL, both obvious commercials, and sneaky references ("AOL keyword CNN").

    I think that this move should be opposed in all ways, shapes, and forms, especially through the Internet. It's far and wide known that AOL sucks [], but now Steve Case wants to add Time Warner's armada of their news (television and print), movie, and music divisions to his already bloated coffers. Meanwhile, AOL is getting hacked at least once every week, be it breaking into user records, making more spam, or just plain old flaming in the chat rooms. Nevertheless, AOL wants to launch their broadband service (which, not surprisingly, will STILL get a >400ms ping, compared to the For now, the outlook is bleak, as the conglom-o of TimeAOLWarnerTurner threatens to alienate the multimedia world, its tendrils gnashing away at the consumers' rights.

  • FCC attorneys are prepared to block the merger if TimeWarner doesn't open access to it's cable (broadband) lines for competing ISPs.

    This is a huge benefit.

    Currently, I'm forced to have RoadRunner as my ISP with this cable modem (AT&T). If the FCC forces broadband providers to open the access to their networks and I have a choice of ISPs - the competition should result in lower prices and better service.

    <HUMOR> And as long as I don't have to choose AOL as my ISP, it's a "Good Thing"(tm). </HUMOR>

  • "Nyahhh *crunch*crunch*crunch* you've got mail, doc!"

    I am going to have nightmares about this, I just know it...
  • Now the FCC will mostlikely NOT open AOL's IM network and make everyone use AOL's hack. Now a real [] IETF protocol can mature into the standard.
  • Ever stop to think why they call it 'programming' ?
    I think there's too much corporate control in the media already. All the news we get is one sided, radio is a joke, and TV insults our intelligence.
    I laugh at the people who think that they are getting the whole story from CNN. Uh huh, the same company who's CEO goes golfing with Bill 'The Rapist' Clinton. Disgusting.

    "sex on tv is bad, you might fall off..."
  • my point being that regulating commissions, (EU and FTC) seem to be concerned about just that. This deal could put way to much control over "content" in one company's hands. There are obvious concerns over how much control corps have over artistic works(rapidly becoming known as content). I hope this is the case and the FTC and EU do something. as an aside, I hate the word content in this context. It completely strips the soul out of art/music/lit.... But I guess corporations are good at doing just that.
  • I think that AOL and Time-Warner are hoping to use the "legitimacy" of a US-backed merger (and the US gov't.) to strongarm the EC. Hell, for all we really know, the only reason that the EC is so dead-set against this, is because AOL and TW simply haven't thrown enough money at them yet...
  • I know what you mean. I am disturbed by how people live their lives by what they see on TV. Be it the "news" or sticoms. Very "ministry of truth"ish... There are way to many lines linking media companies to corporations. A friend recommended yahoo as a great source of news because can get news from everywhere (AP, Routers, etc). Once you start looking you at what does not get reported on the tube your eyes really open up. I still listen to mainstream media but I am much more selective in what I accept. I am of the opinion that TV is not all bad, just 95%. That's why I crave TIVO, so I can filter out the crap. Kinda like panning for gold.
  • From the FCC's perspective the merger is a good thing; fewer companies in a field mean less work for the FCC - fewer files to maintain etc.

    In addition they realize that the whole Time - Warner - AOL deal will eventually wind up in anti-trust proceedings. That will put the ball in the DOJ's court. The end result? Several years where the FCC has less work.

    I recently wrote a letter to the FCC complaining about a local TV station lying on the air about the cause of ozone pollution in my home town. The lie was significant because ozone levels had reached the level (more than 200 parts per billion) where it is hazardous to the lungs of normal people; not just people with impaired breathing.

    The ozone was caused by chemical discharges from industry - but the TV station said it was car exhausts. Car exhausts were responsible for about 1% of the ozone level reading.

    The FCC's response was that while the TV station was lying, and the lies were helping air pollution regulators in the area avoid treating the actual cause of the ozone pollution ( while allowing them to hammer car drivers with stiffer tail-pipe emissions tests, lower speed limits, and alternate driving days etc.) and that people were being harmed by those lies (all of which is necessary for a broadcast to be a criminal 'hoax' under FCC regulations) that there was no proof that the TV station was lying intentionally. This was despite the fact (which I pointed out to the FCC) that I had emailed the station pointing out their false material - which caused them to slightly modify their broadcast from "car exhausts were causing the ozone" to "car exhausts and industry were causing the ozone" on their next broadcast.

    The FCC really doesn't care about trivial things like truth and the well being of the populace, and never has. In the 1930's and 1940's it was the FCC who kept Philo T. Farnsworth's TV (which he invented in 1927) off the air at the request of RCA, which was afraid of losing its radio broadcast monopoly position. It also kept Major Armstrong's FM off the air (also at RCA's request).

    Big companies mean fewer people to see and an easier job for the FCC; so of course they will favor it. So much for being able to count on government regulatory agencies to protect us. In practice regulatory agencies protect only those whom they regulate - not the 'people' as a whole.

  • ...and bad for everyone else.

    Sure, AOL and Time Warner are not telcos. The cable companies, though, are utilities. In my quest to get either DSL or Cable Modem (admittedly in different markets), I've been plagued with provider issues. Just getting the Cox@Home service back in 1998 was a nightmare. However, compared to getting DSL through an alternative ISP, it was a walk in the park.

    What makes the FCC think that AOL/Time Warner won't delay installation to the poor sods who elect to not use their own ISP with the cable modem service? For that matter, what exactly is involved when a consumer chooses earthlink over rr? Is it like the CLEC situation, where the CLEC's install their equipment in the telcos' CO?

    I really hope the EU blocks the merger. The only people who will suffer will be the consumers. Yes, the evidence I give is anecdotal, but the experience has been shared by others.

  • They're probably wondering how much longer it will be that they get to keep their deal with Time Warner -- and not because AOL/TW would want the relationship to end. There are so many opponents to it from the outside that the FCC may make it a condition of the merger that AOL/TW end ties to AT&T. They are already including 'an "open access" condition -- a rule requiring that Time Warner's cable customers be allowed to freely choose their Internet provider -- would sufficiently protect against potential collusion by the company with AT&T Corp.'.

    So they're probably not too thrilled that they'll have less of a monopoly. All in all this may not be a bad deal for the US consumer.

  • Another huge business merger that will, eventually, prove to be bad for consumers approved by yet another Govt. agency that rolled over on command. Shame the FCC hasn't kept track of how some of these deals have played out before approving this one. Here in Illinois, phone service quality has taken a nosedive since Ameritech gotten absorbed by SBC. AOL and TW have just successfully pulled off another one of a series of these. It's actually pretty much by the (cook)book and goes something like this:

    ``Here's the plan: Once you announce your mega-merger, there'll be a slew of public hearings that you'll have to put up with. Fear not. During the hearings with the Federal and State regulators, promise them anything that sounds good. Make it look like the government folks are making you give up something. You will get it all back, and more, in the near future anyway. Then, once they approve the deal, you can go back to your original course of action of screwing the sheep^H^H^H^H^Hconsumers while charging them ever increasing rates (these can always be blamed on costs mandated by government).''

    It's not enough to clean house and get the career politicians out of Washington, you've got to find a way to get the bureacrats out of there too.

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Thursday September 21, 2000 @05:12AM (#764774)
    After 60 posts, everyone is making the same mistake.

    The story in question talks about the FCC -the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION. They have no say about anti-trust issues, or anything else of that nature. However, they are in charge of the communications infrastructure, and the only thing that they really can be concerned with is having AOL/TW close all the carrier lines in the US. On CNN's take, the FCC only insisted that AOL/TW have open lines for third parties, which AOL/TW gladly agreed to.

    On the other hand, the FTC - FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, is still mulling the issue of anti-trust/monopoly actions on this merger, and the merger cannot happen until they give the gree light. They are still worried about the size and the number of areas that this merged company would control, similar to the EU commission. AOL/TW wants to have the FCC's acceptence in place as another card for dealing with the FTC and EU commission.

    The deal is by no ways done. And the concerns of the FTC very much outway those that the FCC would be worried about.

  • This will only further proprietarize the music and movie industry, turning Time Warner into yet another Sony. Similar to the situation after Disney bought/formed (I can't remember which) the GO Network and had all ABC programs advertising it, you'll probably see a hell of a lot more advertisements for AOL, both obvious commercials, and sneaky references ("AOL keyword CNN").

    What exactly do you mean by "proprietarize" the movie & music industry?

    How are you figuring that their broadband service will get a crappy ping?

    I think everyone should give the Internet a little more credit that they are. I hear a lot of people saying that content is coming to an end on the internet. And that everything you hear, see and buy will be filtered through Aol-TimeWarner. I don't see this happening at all. The web surfers that made /., yahoo, and amazon (all small players when they started) popular will still be around to make sure that good independent sites get eyeballs.

    Yes, a lot of people will be sucked into the filtered content that AolTimeWarner will offer, but a) This is not new. The masses have been ignorant of the truth and seeing through the fog of propaganda since Jesus was born. b) A lot of them will grow up and use other ISPs, just like they're doing now.

    The fact that this merger is even happening is evidence that both AOL and TimeWarner were scared. Why? Because they both feared that they would be left behind. AOL with no fast access, and TimeWarner with no way to distribute their internet content. So they merged. Yippee. You'll still get your news from BBC and /., stinkymeat will still gross you out and user friendly will still make you laugh.

    P.S. Go easy on AOL. While most people here agree that AOL is slow and is the last ISP they want to use, a lot of people like the fact that it is easy to use and has everything they want right in front of them. They'll grow up.... ;-)

    How long does it take to get sued by the MPAA?

  • Nah, not jealous :)

    However, I do worry that this much media under one thumb could make mainstream media even worse. There are benefits, I'll admit, like maybe I could finally leave dial-up hell, and break that 5 or so k/s barrier I've been at for so long.

  • I think it's about time to change the AOL story logo on slashdot.... how about a Borg Cube with the AOL logo on it? Maby it's using that Borg cutting beam thingie to suck up a big dollar sign :)
  • From an article on the matter:
    "Although the draft provides some insight into FCC thinking, the commission could still block the deal if both companies do not make major concessions in order to prevent any illusion of monopolistic practices, the report said.

    First of all, I wonder what qualifies as "major concessions". I seem to remember that AT&T has already been in some hot water for not playing nicely with its competitors?

    Second, I sure wouldn't want to wager a multi-billion dollar deal on the wishy-washy nature of the FCC or European Union.
  • They can't do business in the EU without antitrust approval from the European Commision.
  • This could become VERY interesting.
  • A year or two down the road AOL/Time will be investigated and forced to break up. It seems to be a pattern which I for one do not understand. Gov: "Sure... go ahead and merge." Gov: "Wait... you guys got too big and powerful... not break up!" A/T: "But... you told us to go ahead and merge and get this large/powerful." Gov: "That is beside the point."

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."