Forum Talk: AOL-Time Warner: A Blessing?

SAN MATEO (01/24/2000) - (These edited excerpts from our Web site's forums provide a sample of the lively debate that takes place there. For the full discussions, go to www.infoworld.com and click on the forums button.)Would AOL-Time Warner be good for consumers?

"Net duopoly? It looks as if it will be Microsoft Corp. and AOL [America Online]-Time Warner either battling it out or in collusion. It will be an interesting fight. If [we] work too hard to bring Microsoft down, look what is waiting in the wings."

"AOL is spending a lot of money and time fighting to get all wires open to all providers. Unhooking the pipeline from the provider is not just a good thing for consumers, it is a good thing for AOL-Time Warner Inc. ... which is, once again, primarily a content provider."

"If the [federal government] thinks this megasaurus merger is cool and Microsoft is a problem, we're definitely going to be in for a Brave New World 2000."

"The initiative to open cable/DSL is supported by AOL, but it is not the only player. AOL is betting that if all boats are raised then it will benefit disproportionately, having the biggest boat. If so, it will be because it has a product people want, not because it artificially manipulated the market to make itself the only game in town.

"AOL does not limit access to the Internet in any way, shape, or form; it limits access to its proprietary content. Period. It provides all sorts of methods to its subscribers to access other content. It provides parental control mechanisms, etc. It sells added value."etoy vs. eToys -- what's in a name?

"There's no way that Network Solutions Inc. [NSI], or the courts, should have paid the blindest bit of notice to eToys' clear nuisance suit -- the domain name etoy.com predates the domain name eToys.com by some two years -- and presumably predates eToys' [claimed] trademark by a similar amount. Such prior use should have meant that NSI had no basis to terminate service to etoy.com."

"It is a simple trademark conflict, something that happens all the time, albeit not in the public light. Who had prior active use? That's the real issue."

"Consider this. You, John Smith, had a home, and then Smith Electronics moved next door, got a court order to force you to move, and told you that you were no longer allowed to call yourself Smith."

"It's sad that NSI uses date of trademark as a deciding factor, since I'm sure if Jim McDonald built a computer repair shop and called it McDonald's Computers, then registered 'mcdonalds.com' before the hamburger chain, the chain would still have the ability to steal the domain [out] from under him."

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