While lots of people were down on the idea of AOL merging with Time Warner from the very beginning, it always seemed like the idea behind it made plenty of sense. It was just the execution that was an absolute disaster. AOL clearly had puffed up stock and no broadband plans. Teaming with Time Warner would give them the broadband offering in Road Runner, along with plenty of other services that they could use to transform into a true broadband company. What happened, however, was that just about everyone dropped the ball. AOL and Road Runner continued to be so separate that they even found themselves competing against each other. When Steve Case was forced out two years ago, it seemed like everyone as blaming him for the collapse of AOL-Time Warner. At the time, I suggested that Case's mistake was not the vision he had, but that he failed to bring in executives who would execute it -- instead leaving existing execs in place who got into turf wars and basically did nothing to make the deal work. In an event at the Computer History Museum tonight, Steve Case basically suggested the same thing. He admitted the failure was his own fault, but that it was one of execution, not vision. He says he never should have been running a 90,000 person company, and he failed in getting people who actually believed in the vision of how the two companies could work together, rather than against each other.
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