AOL, Supreme

Wall Street Journal: Rivals of AOL Time Warner face battle with giant, despite curbs. “AOL Time Warner still has the incentive and the opportunity to play games,” says Mr. Lessig. “It will require a continuing strong signal from regulators that certain games will not be tolerated.”

The problem is that AOL is still entirely in the driver’s seat. It doesn’t have to open up its instant messaging (IM) system until it offers IM via video. In other words, it can totally consolidate its already-massive dominance in text and, soon, audio messaging — and then open up only when that is a meaningless concession.

The FCC’s cave-in to AOL was bad enough, but consider that the two Republican members of the FCC voted to approve the deal with no restrictions at all. They will have a majority soon, and they aren’t likely to enforce the order their agency just issued. So AOL’s concessions are likely to turn out meaningless no matter what.

Consumers will not gain as a result of AOL’s buyout of Time Warner. Only the company’s shareholders will win, and anyone who thinks otherwise just isn’t paying attention.

  • Newsweek: AOL’s ‘Transforming Transaction’. No matter what anyone at the new company says, journalism—going out and looking for the truth, then presenting it to people—at AOL Time Warner will be less important than it was at Time Warner.

    The Hype Worked

    Reuters: ‘Ginger’ inventor says speculation is far overblown. “We have a promising project, but nothing of the Earth-shattering nature that people are conjuring up,” Dean Kamen, president of Manchester, New Hampshire-based DEKA Research, said in a statement referring to one of his forthcoming inventions.

    Doesn’t matter. The hype machine has already done its work.

    Once again, the media have fallen prey — like the suckers we can be — to outrageous and possibly orchestrated hype. Too bad we keep letting this kind of thing happen.

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