Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

How Many Times Must Steve Case Apologize?

from the and-how-often-will-it-be-misinterpreted dept

A year and a half ago, we wrote about how Steve Case had publicly stated that the AOL-Time Warner merger disaster was his fault. While many people misread this to believe the merger was a mistake, Case's comments were actually focusing on how the execution of the merger was a mistake. The same thing is happening all over again. Apparently, no one bothered to look up Case's past statements, even if it was only a year and a half ago. Steve Case has basically said the exact same thing, and the press is playing it up as if regrets the merger. However, once again, the details show he still believes the merger made sense, but the follow through (which certainly was his responsibility) was bungled. The idea of teaming up AOL and Time Warner certainly could have made sense if the two companies weren't kept in silos with management fighting each other at every step of the way. The "content" side ended up with too much power, trying to continue the practice of charging each time someone wanted to view any bit of content, rather than having the internet side of the house point out the value in sharing and spreading information and content, and using that to open up additional revenue streams (such as access fees and advertising). It's now a classic case study of how not to merge companies, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't have been done much better.

Reader Comments

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  1. identicon
    aol, 25 Jul 2006 @ 3:17am

    Steve Case should apologize for adds that appear in the emails in which paid suscribers must view. ...and for all the backwards things AOL does at the wrong time.

    First post?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Whypush, 25 Jul 2006 @ 4:37am

    Grow up

    First off, Steve Case has been off the board for years now, and e-mail advertising just started recently.

    AOL does do a lot of things wrong, but also is mostly responsible for the Internet access boom. Without them doing what they did back then, it's quite possible you wouldn't be typing your comment now. Or at least you might still be paying per minute to do so. When people had top pay per minute, much less garbage was posted on the Web.

    Finally, learn how to spell. The shortened format of the word advertisements is ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Whypush, 25 Jul 2006 @ 4:38am

    Then I did it too

    Sorry for the typo, "top" should have been "to".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Michael Brooks, 25 Jul 2006 @ 5:08am

    Case & AOL

    Companies are still learning how to move aconventional business into a digital model. Even the leaders find themselves chasing to catch up eg. Microsoft V. Google. AOL repreented the on ramp to the digital highway for millions. Until Yahoo, Google & MSN eveolved there was never a captive audience as AOL povided.

    I don't think Time Warner has ever understood how to harness the Internet trying at best to manage by conventional business models.

    There remains no other choice for AOL to move to advertiser income and open up a free AOL. Then move in management that understands why Yahoo and Google have become winners. I'd bring back Case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    aol too, 25 Jul 2006 @ 6:01am

    funny correction

    correcting someone and then making the same exact mistake LOL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    unknown, 25 Jul 2006 @ 6:03am

    i think

    i think maybe the second 'd' in 'add' might also have been a typo. so get the stick out of your ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2006 @ 6:24am

    More stupidity

    First Post!!!

    (again, not actually first, but no more stupid than if I had posted first)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2006 @ 8:29am

    WMD = AOL

    People that still use AOL should commit suicide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2006 @ 8:37am

    People still use AOL? Wow...I had no idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Erstazi, 25 Jul 2006 @ 9:16am

    People using AOL...

    ...but using a broadband connection is just completely odd. I never understood why someone would do such a thing. I use to use aol when it was 3.0 as a lot of computer users. But thats when broadband was non-existant in many areas and dialup was the only way you got connected. About people paying by the minute and the internet having much less garbage was posted [and spam!] on the Web... I definately agree. With the coming of broadband, it opens doors to many possibilities, positive and negative.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Bob, 25 Jul 2006 @ 9:59am

    Training is over.

    AOL is, was and will likely always be "Interweb Training Wheels." Once you've got the hang of it, you ditch your training wheels so you can lean into the corners at full speed. Until you ditch them, you'll always wonder why you can't do what others are doing, or, at least, not as fast or smooth as they do. And, the biggest reason to dump the training wheels is, of course, image. Do you know how novice you look with printed on your business card? Quite noviice indeed. In fact, isn't that why you still use AOL, because you don't want to have to change your cool email address?

    AOL fetters. I want UNfettered Internet access, thanks. Ditch your training wheels and explore your city and the world, not just the censored pieces of it fed to you through the massive AOL proxy. There really is an Internet, just beyond that walled garden you think is so pretty and hi-res. Come join us. You have nothing to fear! (All you need is a firewall and some safe computing lessons to avoid all those digital evils the AOL pundits tout as reasons to use AOL.)

    Yes, you, too, could soon announce, proudly, "Yeah I used to use AOL, but then I graduated."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Joe Smith, 25 Jul 2006 @ 11:04am

    Exit strategy

    The AOL / Time Warner merger was a brilliant move by Steve case which hugely benefited the AOL shareholders.

    You have to recognize that the merger was an exit strategy for AOL. They used vastly over priced shares in a dot com bubble company to buy a substantial stake in real company with real assets.

    That the company could have been better run after the merger than it was does not take awary from the brilliance of the original move.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Dan, 25 Jul 2006 @ 11:41am

    Re: Exit strategy

    I fullly agree with your analysis.

    If I could use fake money to buy a real asset like time warner, I'd do it in a NY minute.

    The strategy was genius, the execution was horrible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Bill, 25 Jul 2006 @ 3:35pm

    Everyone has their own agenda

    Why would the media want to report his statements honestly? If you're a competitor to AOL-Time Warner you're only interested in negative stories. If you're in AOL=Time Warner you'd probably be pissed about the whole merger anyway. It doesn't benefit anyone except Steve Case to report this honestly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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