Feeds

AOL's Case smartens up the road show

Not-so-silver-tongued devil woos Congress...sort of

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes

America Online Chairman Steve Case took pains to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee every platitude ever written about the wonders of the Internet as they convened this week to consider the proposed merger of AOL with media giant Time Warner.

He waxed poetic on the education of our tender sprouts. "Today, a student in Alaska or Alabama can visit the Library of Congress online, and so can a young person in Ankara." Well yes, they could do that. They could also waste gargantuan chunks of time chatting in ICQ and downloading pornography, music and warez. Odds, anyone?

But Case pressed on. "Building a medium we can be proud of has always been core to the vision at AOL," he said. "That means empowering people by giving them a voice, and greater choice." "It means connecting people in meaningful ways to their government, and helping them to give back to their communities. It means enhancing educational opportunities for children. It means expanding its reach and its benefits to every corner of the world, leaving no community, and no country, behind."

At this point we observed Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah) visibly struggling to remain awake. All right, however beautifully written it may have been, Case's speech didn't quite hit its mark. Part of it was his monotonous delivery, but the greater part is rooted in the Committee's overall fatigue with the bright promises of mega-corporations.

"The most significant danger to the promise of the Internet," Chairman Hatch observed, "is the possibility that a handful of companies could control who can access or deliver applications, or content."

He was similarly underwhelmed with the memo of understanding between Case and Time Warner Chairman Gerald Levin, announced just hours before the hearing, and pledging to open Time Warner's cable network to other ISPs, and to guarantee choice of ISP to consumers of the combined company's cable service.

"The first paragraph of this promotional document makes it clear that the document is not binding," Hatch observed dryly. Furthermore, it was developed "without input from...the parties it professes to be championing," he added. Hatch wondered aloud how an agreement which can't be enforced could be taken for more than a marketing gimmick.

Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont) noted that after merging, the potential for cross-exploitation of the two companies' respective markets could be too much temptation to resist. It would not be much of a challenge to "push the television content through the AOL gateway, and the AOL content through the television screen," Leahy said in a tone which could have been taken as scornful.

But Case stayed cheerfully on message. He spoke of "a broad and powerful vision that will forever alter our lives." Noting that the Internet now reaches a scant forty percent of American households, he invited us all to "imagine what we will achieve when we reach every country, every community, every business, every family."

We accepted Case's invitation, closed our eyes, engaged our imaginations, and within minutes found ourselves palpably disgusted. Perhaps Hatch and Leahy did the same, with similar reactions. ®

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?