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LineOne pokes tongues at Netscape Online

Launch of free service to erode AOL user base

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The MD of LineOne has mocked AOL's decision to launch a subscription-free ISP accusing his rival of being caught in two minds. He said the launch of Netscape Online showed AOL's pricing strategy was confused. "Either you believe in the [subscription] free model or not," said Ajay Chowdhury speaking to The Register earlier today. "The subscription-free model [for Internet access] is here to stay," he said. "But it seems AOL is desperate to hold on to its subscribers and its subscription revenue stream for as long as it can," he said. Chowdhury predicted AOL UK would begin to haemorrhage users once they realised they could get many of the services and content offered by AOL UK for free with Netscape Online. He said AOL UK's subscriber based would eventually wither away. Chowdhury's remarks coincided with an announcement that the subscription-free online service LineOne now has 400,000 members -- an increase of 320,000 since March. It also launched a new instant messaging service for LineOne users called PING! and a Web navigation tool called the Assistant. ®

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