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AOL Desktops On New PCs

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the you've-got-popup-ads dept.

America Online 220

mickeyreznor writes: "I came across this interesting article in the Washington Post. Apparently AOL is trying to pull the same kind of stunts that got Microsoft in trouble with the DOJ. I'm not sure where I stand on this whole issue, but it seems to be a very interesting situation. Seems like we're going to have an all-out corporate war in the upcoming months." With news that the number of internet users is shrinking, AOL needs a way to bring in new subscribers -- and the DOJ's pressure on Microsoft appears to have opened a door.

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Funny... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190870)

Apple does essentially the same thing on all macs with with mac.com and yet no one makes a big deal of that.

Re:Not at all... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190871)

Uhh... AOL is definitely a monopoly. Just look at the chunk of the media market AOL-TW controls. What you meant to say is that AOL 'isn't a monopoly in OS production,' which is a true enough statement because AOL doesn't make an OSes. Instead, they just rely on their monopoly in the ISP market, their monopoly in the IM market, their monopoly in the broadband business and their monopoly on Park Place and Boardwalk.

Talk about a pain in the ass.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2190872)

"remind the customer of the AOL offer through the use of on-screen 'Pop-ups' that will appear five times within the first month of activity (or until the user signs up for AOL, whichever comes first)."..."clicks on anything that requires Internet connectivity, and has not registered for an ISP, the AOL offer is presented as a pop-up." .... there would be default shortcuts to AOL's portal when users clicked on "Internet" or "e-mail" from the start menu, the documents show.

Ewwwwww. Removing all that shit sounds like a huge pain in the butt... far more intrusive than what Microsoft does for MSN.

I wish Microsoft was smart enough to put in their requirements that, "You can put whatever you want on the Desktop, but you have to put your changes in Add/Remove Programs." There really should be a "Remove all the AOL shit" option... which there almost certainly won't be...

Hopefully Microsft will provide a "restore default configuration" utility, but that would probably be considered anti-competitive. Oh well. Reinstalling the OS from Warez CD's it is...

Fewer people using DSL? Wonder why? (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190873)

Gee, maybe people are finally getting tired of all of the crap they have to go through to get DSL from companies like Verizon. Or maybe because the DSL people don't seem to want to do new installations anymore.

As for the decline in hits on some websites, I'd say that web users are becoming more savvy now. The novelty has worn off for many of them. We can't expect hamsterdance to maintain the level of clicks it had in '98 now can we?

One good thing about this... (2)

jbrw (520) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190874)

"In a separate AOL document also dated June 13, AOL explored the possibility of replacing various Microsoft products in Windows XP, including its Windows Media Player for playing online music and video. AOL has a deal with RealNetworks Inc. to use its RealPlayer software."

I, for one, would be happy for the streaming content market to have more choice. More installed RealPlayers == more content creators providing content in this format. And, unless something has changed, there's nothing to play WMA (or whatever it is) files on *nix.

(Little) huzzah for AOL!


Thoughts, part 1 of 1 (3)

jd (1658) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190877)

First, how does anybody know the number of Internet users is shrinking? The numbers used are all just plucked out of thin air, so all that's being done is that they're comparing one random number with another random number.

If the argument is that the world economy has been kicked in the teeth (GWB wouldn't know anything about that, would he?), and that the Internet is a luxury, compared to food, then yes, I'll agree that the global Internet usage is probably slipping, right now.

However, AOL aren't selling to the global Internet population. They're not even selling to all major cities in the United States! If you don't sell, then nobody can buy. Blaming the customer may appease a few board members, but it won't pay the bills.

If AOL are going to pull hostile take-overs of the Internet community, they're going to wind up dead in the water. For a start, how do you attack something or someone you know nothing about? At least Microsoft picked their targets with some degree of skill.

Besides, AOL's best solution is obvious to me. Even if the global Internet usage plummets, the big corporate players will still be there. And that means, a need for high-speed backbones. AOL covers a fair number of countries. If they were to build their own backbone, they would be less vulnerable if an existing major player went under, they'd have an extra revenue stream, and it would cut their long-term costs massively.

(Lucent's just about dead, which means that terabit switches and optical routers are more likely to end up in the Smithsonian than in companies' networks. Further, anything they have already sold is likely to end up unsupported.)

It's a gem. (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190879)

Normally, I'd say "poetic justice", but I daresay AOL's little better at best.

A new level of mediocrity... (2)

Kozz (7764) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190880)

Seriously. AOL Desktops? I think they've got bigger fish to fry by remaining a content and access provider [bbspot.com] .

Number of 'net users dwindling.. (1)

Si (9816) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190881)

So the unwashed masses are finally tiring of spam, Make Money Fast, advertising and porn.

Well, maybe not porn.

Quick question (3)

banky (9941) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190882)

From the article: "New York based AOL..."

That's odd... what's that big-ass building down the street from me (Dulles)? Is AOL no longer based on NoVA as a result of the merger?

Re:This is the free market at work (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190886)

I sort of agree. The problem occurs when OEMs can no longer compete without getting those $35 payments from AOL. OEMs could have chosen not to sign restrictive contracts with Microsoft as well, but it would have hurt them enough financially that they would have been out of business. Eventually I could see this being the case with AOL's kickbacks as well.

In a certain sense AOL isn't the monopoly at this time that Microsoft was then, but in another way it is: AOL is the only way to get AOL-type services. If you want the incredibly simple interface that they provide, there is really no competition. I don't know how many OEMs are selling based on the simplicity and AOL-ness of their systems, but if they are doing so then they've got nowhere else to go. AOL is still nowhere near the monopoly that Microsoft is, though.

Remember: it's a "Microsoft virus", not an "email virus",

Re:Windows Distributions (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190887)

Best. Solution. Ever.

mod up, please

Remember: it's a "Microsoft virus", not an "email virus",

I'm sure MS has an ace up their sleeve (4)

glh (14273) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190888)

Two words:


I can see blue screens happening every time that popup comes along ... ;)

There ARE alternatives... :) (3)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190894)

During the antitrust trial, MS kept saying, "We don't have a monopoly! There are alternatives! You can use a Mac! You can use Linux! You can use BeOS! And we didn't preclude Netscape from having a distribution channel! You could have downloaded it, or got it from CompUSA!"

I for one hope AOL gets every single major OEM to put AOL products all over the default installation, and then says to MS, "What? They can always download MSN. They can always download Windows Media Player."

Or paraphrase MS's excuse from Windows Refund Day: "Sure, most major OEMs will bundle AOL, but you don't have to use a major OEM. Just use some fly-by-night mail-order distributor if you don't want AOL bundled with your computer."

Sure, i hate AOL as much as the next guy, but the delight of seeing MS get a taste of their own medicine is worth it.

Windows Distributions (5)

Mike Schiraldi (18296) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190895)

It's high time OEMs stopped passing Windows to the consumer verbatim as it comes from Microsoft. Each OEM should put together their own Windows "distro". Just like we have Redhat Linux and Debian Linux, there should be Dell Windows XP and Gateway Windows XP.

The OEMs should look at products and choose what to bundle. If Dell decides Mozilla is better than IE, they should pull off IE and put on Mozilla.

That way, MS can't destroy a competitor just by bundling a moderately good imitation.

Think back to the bundling of, say, HyperTerminal. It sucked, but nobody would bother to go out and find a good replacement when something adequate comes with the system. But if Dell had had the balls to say, "Screw that, we're including FooComm in our Windows distribution, it's better" then HyperTerminal would have faced competition and would be better today.

The insidious thing is... (4)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190899)

That this product is using a new trend in UI design I like to call 'nagups'. These are pop-ups that the user sees X number of time before they go away. The problem is that users don't KNOW that they will go away after '5 times or one month whichever is first' as the article states. They assume, as any reasonable person would, that the pop-up will keep coming up until they register with AOL. This will do one of two things, encourage users to move to AOL, or, encourage them to complain to their OEM and AOL.

Microsoft is using the same technique with passport: the prompt to register comes up three times before disappearing (IIRC) after installing XP. Microsoft claims that passport registration is NOT required with the OS, however a reasonable user would believe after the second time that the nag popped up, that registering with passport is necessary to get rid of it.

How is this helping users? Nags should come up once and then have the ability to dismiss them forever or remind later (just like outlook appointments).

By including such measures AOL and MSFT are doing a disservice to their end users.


Can we say read the article again? (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190900)

The article seems pretty clear when it says, "In the past two months, the number of active Internet users declined 1.6 percent and the number of people with Net connections stayed flat..." That reads like 'shrinking' to me.

The article states that a few sectors are still growing, but never says that the overall number of users is still growing. The positive figures quoted were from the previous two years.

We must make a stand (1)

WyldOne (29955) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190902)

I, for one, tired of advertisers using my desktop as yet another billboard advertisement. An O.S. is not supposed to be a advertising vehicle. I get it everywhere (Mag, Book, TV, Movies, billboards, phone, mail, e-mail, etc.)

I would bet that sometime down the road they will have a 'AOL'centric active desktop feeding you ads at a phenominal pace. You might think web popups are annoying now. Could you imagine tring to get to Word and a popup comes up and says 'Would'nt you like a Coke(tm) with that?"

ARRGGHH, enough already! Lets tell all thes lusers where to get off.

Re:Battle of the Titans (2)

fluffhead (32589) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190904)

AOL/TW already does. It's called RoadRunner cable modem service and rides over Warner digital cable. MS also owns big chunks of cable corp's plus WebTV, but the intense gov't scrutiny probably would never let them roll out "MS Passport Digital Cable TV! 1000 channels of Windows Media content plus the WWW and more!" to the masses.

#include "disclaim.h"
"All the best people in life seem to like LINUX." - Steve Wozniak

Re:This is not the same as what MS did/does (2)

mcfiddish (35360) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190908)

Let AOL and MS duke it out on the Windows desktop. Windows will become so unusable due to the constant popups, hundreds of extraneous icons, and lack of program compatibility that noone will want to use it. Maybe then people will finally look at the alternatives.

How long will it be before the alternatives are clogged with ads?

Maybe we should keep this whole "leenux" thing quiet...

Battle of the Titans (3)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190915)

Aren't you worried that AOL/TW and MS are fighting to be king of the hill? Both are battling to control our lives, take away mp3s, etc.

Once one gets the upper hand of the other, then we're going downhill. Once MS is finally emasculated (by the DOJ? AOL?), AOL/TW will be the new hated corporation around here.

This is not the same as what MS did/does (2)

signe (64498) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190917)

First off, I'll say that I hate the popups and crap as much as anyone else. That said...

MS leveraged their OS market share to push IE. They forbade manufacturers from changing the desktop. They penalized manufacturers who did not put Windows on the PCs they sold.

AOL is striking deals where they would pay the manufacturers bounties for AOL subscribers that sign up as a result of popups that the manufacturer would install on the Windows desktop, courtesy of MS's loosened restrictions on this. AOL is not forcing anyone do this. They're not penalizing people who don't. And they're not leveraging anything to get this, except maybe existing relationships with the manufacturers. So other than cluttering the desktop and annoying people with popups, what's wrong with this?

I say more power to them. Let AOL and MS duke it out on the Windows desktop. Windows will become so unusable due to the constant popups, hundreds of extraneous icons, and lack of program compatibility that noone will want to use it. Maybe then people will finally look at the alternatives.



Re:Battle of the Titans (1)

Bucket58 (66579) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190921)

Don't worry, their lawyers will do that job for us.
-- Bucket

Re:Let me get this straight... (2)

Phork (74706) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190922)

yes, from what i have heard they get beetween 1 and 3 percent commision on the sale of a wintel machine, where on a mac they get 1% if anything, they make more money on a peecee.

Re:Battle of the Titans (5)

szcx (81006) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190924)

That's exactly what is going on. Take the Senator Seeks Injunction Against WinXP [slashdot.org] article from Tuesday... folks here were pretty quick to congratulate the senator on "getting it" and attacking Microsoft. But the fact is the only thing he "got" was bought for $52,000 [opensecrets.org] by AOL/Time-Warner.

Re:My favorite comment... (1)

Hollins (83264) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190925)

geez. In the twenty seconds I took to draft this comment, two other people submitted the exact same thing.

My favorite comment... (5)

Hollins (83264) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190926)

"AOL's actions are unprecedented and completely anti-consumer," said Microsoft spokesman Vivek Varma. "AOL is paying [computer makers] to eliminate consumer choice, forcing people to select the most expensive service in the industry."


Suck on that foot, MSFT (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190927)

From the mouths of babes:

""AOL's actions are unprecedented and completely anti-consumer," said Microsoft spokesman Vivek Varma. "AOL is paying [computer makers] to eliminate consumer choice, forcing people to select the most expensive service in the industry.""

So it was fine for Microsoft to put MSN on the desktop alone (Before they started selling the space to ISPs themselves, anyway.), but when AOL does it the whole thing is anti-competitive.


It's called "competition" (4)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190934)

The main difference is that AOL doesn't have the power to force computer manufacturers to to this by threatening to withhold the OS; rather, they are enticing them by offering $35 for each new user they nab. Microsoft, Earthlink, or any other ISP is free to make similar deals and offer more money for users. Or the manufacturer is free to reject all offers out-of-hand and do as he pleases.

Ah, good old American capitalism at work...

We're being bombarded! (4)

SpookComix (113948) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190938)

In internal AOL documents, the media giant lays out a strategy that calls on manufacturers to build into their new personal computers icons, pop-up notices and other consumer messages aimed at pushing aside Microsoft by giving AOL's products prominent placement on PCs.

Jesus! We're being bombarded by ads enough as it is. It's not enough that every morning I see ads on TV and hear them in my car. During my drives around town, I see hundreds of billboards, signs, and flyers designed to attract my attention. When I'm on the Internet, I'm pounded by pop-ups and banner ads. Now, AOL wants to slap computer users in the face before they even get on the Internet!

As a result of that Microsoft concession, AOL's strategy for Windows XP now focuses on the "OOBE process," or the out-of-box experience, the crucial moment when consumers turn on their machines for the first time and select what products and services they intend to use, the documents show.

The average OOBE will soon be "Wow. I remember back when there was a *desktop* that people could see icons that related to the programs they bought. Now, it looks like we've bought one damned expensive commercial-generator."


Another internal AOL "wishlist" (4)

SpookComix (113948) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190939)

It's disturbing, but it reads as follows:

Other ways to ensure a profitable "Out Of the Box Experience" for AOL:

  1. Removal of one of the customer's fingers each week that the customer fails to accept "the trial".
  2. Promised hold times of "only three hours" if the customer wishes to cancel his or her subscription after "the trial".
  3. Forced sex with the customer's spouse and/or children until the customer agrees to "the trial".
  4. Regular visits by a naked Steve Case to the customer's home or office until the customer accepts "the trial".
  5. The AOL icon will be present on the customer's desktop in three forms. Each time the customer tries to delete one of them, one of the customer's most recent documents will be deleted, and a pop-up message will warn that if the customer doesn't try "the trial" within the first 30 days of ownership, his family will be killed one by one in reverse order of birth.

Re:Sun Tzu's Art of War (1)

biohazard99 (114288) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190940)

So that would be.....Larry Elison, perhaps Jeff Bezos whenever his stock gets out of the shitter, or Old Granddad, IBM, waiting for the youngens to wear themselves out before making the kill.

Re:Thoughts, part 1 of 1 (1)

pi_rules (123171) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190943)

First, how does anybody know the number of Internet users is shrinking? The numbers used are all just plucked out of thin air, so all that's being done is that they're comparing one random number with another random number.

I took a peak at the IDG report. Logically, subscriptions aren't coming in at the same rate that they used to. That doesn't surprise anybody. The report also states that -usage- of the 'net is going down (I'm assuming they only look at connect times from home users). At first this surprised me, then I realized it's summer time. People aren't home as much, they're on vacation, outside, etc. I wonder if this is just a yearly thing.

Justin Buist

This is the free market at work (2)

emdee (126300) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190944)

Apparently AOL is trying to pull the same kind of stunts that got Microsoft in trouble with the DOJ.

Uhm, no. This is the free market at work. AOL is making deals that other companys are free to attempt to make. The PC makers aren't being forced into anything. Consumers aren't being forced into anything.

This is the way it's SUPPOSED to work.

Re:Er, you *like* aol's e-mail (1)

h0mi (135188) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190949)

My only complaint about AOL's email is:

1> I can't use it with other email clients- i MUST connect to AOL to use it. (I can use netscape 6 but that's not much different than MS's hotmail stunt with OE.

2> Spam. Tons of spam. Tons of garbage and spam.

Which I get from hotmail as well also. And Yahoo. But it's not so bad on yahoo. It's dreadful on hotmail. And makes AOL unusable for me.

Of course I'm assuming you've not gone into the chat rooms on AOL. That tends to help slightly.

Solution (1)

a42 (136563) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190950)

I've got a solution for all of this crap.

I propose that we pass legislation enforcing the separation of hardware and software! When you buy your PC you get NO operating system, none. Buy the one you want and install it your own self.

Too feeble to install your own OS? Perhaps you should just give it up and buy WebTV.


Re:number of internet users.. shrinking?! (1)

mikey573 (137933) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190951)

Dunkerz, good point regarding decrease in dialup connections.

Also, it seems most analysts ignore the fact that many internet users are college kids who go home for the summer and don't have their internet connections for a bit.

Another point is that many free internet services have gone out of business.

Someone pointed out that the article is really saying that traffic growth is slowing down, but the number of users is not decreasing overall. Its sorta like Democrats saying Republicans cut the budget when the GOP-heads just slow the spending growth for some programs. :P

this isn't the same (2)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190954)

Microsoft was putting things in THEIR product (Windows) to give THEMSELVES an advantage. AOL is trying to put things in someone ELSE's product to give them an advantage, without the consent of that someone else. This is like Ford paying an independant car lot to replace the logos on Chevrolets with Ford logos.

2 problems with this new approach (4)

sowalsky (142308) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190955)

There are two issues (that I see) with this new approach, but neither deals with the fact that AOL/Time Warner is becoming a mega-media giant.

  1. They are doing this at the OEM level, not the OS level. Obviously, MS has made it clear that they are no longer bundling ISP setup files with Windows anymore, unless DOJ forces them to. This won't be an issue with companies like Compaq, that only send a recovery CD with the product --- they don't support consumer/non-factory-installed versions of the OS. But with most other PC companies, a full-featured version of the OS will come along side the machine on a specially marked CD. This will restore the machine to the way Microsoft likes it, so if the person later decides to sign up for AOL, the pc-maker won't get credit. Changing this policy of including OS CD's might hurt the PC company's relationship with Microsoft.
  2. They are trying to capitalize on Microsoft's "tenuous" situation. Did it ever occur to AOL that the entire internet economy is in a tenuous situation, where money from ISP signups/referrals is becoming less and less available? What about if popularity for AOL gets hit, possibly by another weekend outage or something? The PC makers will realize they were just being toyed at by AOL, angry at their current MS business relationships, and very upset that the current position of PC makers in the market right now is NOT what hardware they provide, but the level of user freedom that comes with the package.

Oh yeah, and to touch on Compaq again, I really think their idea of keeping their computers as an overall package of software, hardware, support, etc. is an awful idea. They tried that on me with a laptop I bought from them. I recently dissuaded the purchase of $200,000 of computer equipment from Compaq because of their inflexibility. What a pleasure it was putting a full-featured, factory-provided version of Win2K (without all the company crap) in a brand-new Dell machine, reformatting/reinstalling, and have it still be fully supported!

The good news... (1)

CrazyJoel (146417) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190956)

Microsoft could pay $36 to keep the MSN icon on the desktop. If enough ISPs pay enough money for desktop icons we could have really cheap PCs!

Re:We're being bombarded! (1)

chinton (151403) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190957)

What a load of crap. The vast majority of computer users out there fall into this catagory. Its not laziness, or stupidity or anything else, they don't know because they have other interests. To them, their computer is a tool, and not a lifestyle choice. The idea that everyone should have wizard level knowledge it ridiculous.

Did you build your car, or buy it? Be careful, the wrong answer will label you a lazy and stupid lUser.

No they don't. (2)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190958)

With news that the number of internet users is shrinking, AOL needs a way to bring in new subscribers

No they don't. With all the recent mergers they've been having, how many tens of millions of subscribers do they have now?


Pots and kettles, all of 'em... (1)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190959)

"AOL's actions are unprecedented and completely anti-consumer," said Microsoft spokesman Vivek Varma. "AOL is paying [computer makers] to eliminate consumer choice, forcing people to select the most expensive service in the industry."

... and if anyone knows about eliminating consumer choice and forcing people to select the most expensive option, it's Microsoft!

Re:Pots and kettles, all of 'em... (2)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190960)

geez. In the twenty seconds I took to draft this comment, two other people submitted the exact same thing...

Can we say horrible journalism? (3)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190961)

The poster says, "With news that the number of internet users is shrinking."

But this is completely and utterly a lie! The article he links to clearly states that the number of internt users is increasing, this is simply happening at a slower rate than last year.

Geeze. It makes me sick.

WindowsAOL (1)

cyberconte (156446) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190962)

i just couldn't believe it. the number of things they're going to put and replace in windows just kept going and going and going...

They better be careful. it could get them in the same trouble with the DOJ as microsoft.

and whats with those popups? like, excuse me? when i delete the icon the first minute its booted, i'm sure as hell not gonna want to deal with popups. i think thats crossing the line a bit. And the frequency of them! its like...(/rant time=premature reason=sanity)

Re:Battle of the Titans (2)

ajiva (156759) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190963)

So all we need to do is keep them fighting long enough for an OpenSource alternative to gain strength. Its war after all :)

This isn't the same as Microsoft (2)

coupland (160334) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190964)

Microsoft was slapped on the wrist because they both made the desktop, and dictated what content could sit on it. ie - leveraging monopoly control on one product to bolster sales in another sector. This is not what AOL-T/W is doing.

Disclaimer: This does not mean I don't consider AOL Time-Warner to a monopoly. I just don't think this is an example of it.


more haiku (2)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190965)

less net users good
my bandwidth goes up up up
arg! more disks needed

Re:this isn't the same (1)

calbanese (169547) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190969)

Car dealerships do something like this all the time. I've seen very few cars that don't have a dealership sticker under the model name and/or around the license plate when its driven off the lot. I didn't consent to that, but you don't see me getting my panties in a bunch over it. Why? Because they can be removed (though it is a bit harder to do than simply delete an icon). Whose consent does AOL need?

If you don't want to read the article (1)

SkyIce (184974) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190971)

This quote tells the whole story:
"AOL's actions are unprecedented and completely anti-consumer," said Microsoft spokesman Vivek Varma. "AOL is paying [computer makers] to eliminate consumer choice, forcing people to select the most expensive service in the industry."

Re:Pots and kettles, all of 'em... (1)

SkyIce (184974) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190972)

guess I make the fourth person :)

Re:Its not all bad... (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190974)

Java, Netscape? Stop living in the past.

Re:Windows Distributions (1)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190975)

I remember using Telix and ProComm, nobody used HyperTerminal because it sucked. What's your point? If something that comes with the system sucks, people will get a better software.

Instead of 1 (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190978)

So instead of Big Brother, we'll have Big Brother and Big Sister. Great.

Now wait a sec... (1)

egerlach (193811) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190979)

I'm not an AOL user, in fact I hate AOL. But this isn't the same as Microsoft. AOL is paying for advertising. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. It's annoying, granted, but not evil.

Microsoft was saying "If you install our OS, you can't put any other icons on the desktop". Being as the vast majority of computer users expected a Microsoft OS, the computer makers had to install it to get customers, which meant they couldn't install Netscape, put AOL icons on, etc, etc.

As I said, I don't like AOL, but let's not blame them for something that is in well established practice (i.e. paying for adverts).

Looking on the bright side... (2)

egerlach (193811) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190980)

This is good news for Mozilla.

AOL also is seeking to give an advantage to Netscape, its own Web browser...

Truly, I am torn over this one... no wait, I'm not, that's just heartburn.

Re:AOL's paying off Retailers (2)

grammar nazi (197303) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190982)

There's a story on bbspot news [bbspot.com] that somes it up very nicely.

It isn't the same as microsofts behavior... (1)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190985)

Because AOL isn't in quite the same position, in terms of leverage. AOL can only offer a positive incentive for accepting it's terms, whereas Microsoft could either not provide a vital operating system (for the general consumer market, anyway) or charge them a hell of a lot more then any other manufacturer pays, giving them a pricing disadvantage on otherwise equal products.

Forward to the Past (2)

milo_Gwalthny (203233) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190986)

This is pretty much the way business was done before MSN. AOL, Prodigy, Compuserve and others would pay a bounty to PC manufacturers to put their icons conspicuously on the desktop. Back in my day it was only $30 per subscriber. Note that this is a pretty low price to pay per new subscriber - compare to an average $100 or so for direct mail.

When MSN was rolled out, Microsoft decided to pressure PC makers to not allow competitive providers. This caused us at the ISP that employed me huge heartburn; we were convinced that MSN would drive us out of business in no time flat. We negotiated with Microsoft to allow us some presence and they eventually relented, so long as we used Microsoft Explorer as our default browser. I use the word "negotiate" loosely as it was a pretty one-sided negotiation.

I think this may have even been the initial impetus for the antitrust suit as all the ISPs gave up negotiating with Netscape so as to get placement somewhere in Windows. In any case, it certainly smells like tying.

AOL seems to be exploiting Microsoft's weakness to turn back the tide. Much as I dislike both AOL and Microsoft, better to have a two party system than a one party system - even for us Independents.

Re:Why the HELL... (1)

fenix down (206580) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190990)

Actually, my parent's basement can't get AOL without calling long distance. Ahh, the boondocks of New Jersey.

Re:Er, you *like* aol's e-mail (1)

JebOfTheForest (207893) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190991)

I've had an AOL mailbox for about 8 years or so. I get virtually zero spam to it. Of my like 2 zillion email accounts, I get the least spam at AOL.

Re:Windows Distributions (1)

JebOfTheForest (207893) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190992)

that takes support burden from MS and puts it on Dell.

Similarly ... (3)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190993)

Now that Microsoft is careful about not being (too) obvious with their monopolistic methods, maybe they'd allow RedHat to put a "Install Linux" icon on the Windows desktop :-)

Let me get this straight... (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 13 years ago | (#2190995)

It's the lack of a bonus that makes a CompUSA salesman reluctant to sell a Mac?

Yeah, right...

Not at all... (5)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191002)

Apparently AOL is trying to pull the same kind of stunts that got Microsoft in trouble with the DOJ.

1) What got Microsoft into trouble wasn't what they did but that they did it with a monopoly position. AOL hardly has a monopoly and can therefore legally do all sorts of things that would be illegal for Microsoft.
2) Anyway, I don't see where there's much similarity between Microsoft threatening to raise Windows prices to prohibitive levels for computer makers who don't do what they want and AOL offering bonuses to makers who deliver users to them.

To give this some perspective, Dell, Compaq and the rest are paying catalog owners and stores to give their products good placement -- and they're paying bonuses to salesmen who successfully move their boxes. (Apple doesn't pay those bonuses, which is why CompUSA salesmen are so reluctant to sell you a Mac even when you go in and demand one.)

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

When are they going to learn... (2)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191003)

...that clicking the "No" or "Cancel" buttons is a viable choice..

MS's troll says in the article that AOL is "forcing people to select the most expensive service in the industry".

To that I say: 1. MacOS doesn't do that, and I'm sure some PC manufactures won't support AOL 2. You CAN actually say NO to AOL.

Mainstream media seems to be missing the point (3)

hillct (230132) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191005)

Mainstream media outlets just don't get it. The Post article says:
Microsoft said on July 11 that it would give computer makers more flexibility in placing icons on the desktop -- the valuable real estate consumers see first when they turn on their machines.
This was discussed earlier on /. [slashdot.org] but, most important here is the point that microsoft really isn't giving up anything. Microsoft has moved from advertising services on the desktop (limited reale-state) to advertising services within applications and the OS as a whole [zdnet.com] (un-limited real-estate). This is not only a much more insideous form of advertising, has the potential to provide redidual revenue on a per user bases greater than the initial sale of the OS to that user. AOL is equally targeting these methods of promoting teir services in my reading of the proposal. This point seems to be glossed over in the article.


Re:Battle of the Titans (1)

jesseraf (230545) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191006)

If they're expending all their energies on fighting eachother, maybe they'll forget about little old me for a while.

Let the fighting begin.

This will help open source (1)

BroadbandBradley (237267) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191008)

from the article:

AOL also is seeking to give an advantage to Netscape, its own Web browser,

Netscape is now based on mozilla [mozilla.org] which is an open source product with a great XUL platform for extending functionality through add on applications that inherit the look and feel of the browser skin. I hope they get a Mozilla/Netscape Icon on everybodys desktop just because if they do, this will 'unseat' Internet Explorer as the browser king.

Re:Why the HELL... (1)

HoldmyCauls (239328) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191011)

Actually, the reason I'm spoiled bandwidth-wise (as you seem to be implying by the Mom and Dad's basement remark) is because I've been using my college's OC-3 line for nine months (and, damn, I miss it!). Before that, for a year, I was shelling out $50 a month for RoadRunner (now, ALSO, AOL/TW, but it was no Mom-and-Pop then, either, for sure). It was nice to be able to just turn my computer on and have it be online, the way that Grandma and my little sister expect it to. I was simply referring to the interface and the lag and the rest of the crap I've put up with under AOL before.

But unfortunately.... (2)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191014)

we'll probably just be trading one tyrant for another because every manufacturer's main goal is profit and AOL is a household name.

Consumer advocates briefed on the proposals were unsettled by AOL's marketing techniques, comparing them to those used by Microsoft.


Out of the box, out of the ashes... (3)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191019)

People tend to use whatever is on their computer when they unpack it and stick it onto their card table.

This is the saddest thing I have ever heard -- I got a free DVD with my player and I never even considered watching it. What is it about computers that leads people to beleive that they come pre-ordained to do whatever you want them to?

I think it has to do with the amount of crap we hand people with a new computer. It's overwhelming. Instead of, "here's a box, a 35 page manual, and you're good," it's "here's a box, your monitor box, your cables and printer and mouse and keybouard an a set of For Dummies books on the OS, the browser, setting up internet, using software, scratching your ass and solving world hunger." We give them so much shit to learn...doesn't it make sense that they don't have time to absorb it all, and make all the pertinant decisions? When you buy a TV, you know how to use it...channel up, channel down, volume controls. Computers just don't have that level of ease of use...programs don't have any uniformity or really intuitive user interface that is common among them, and this is one area where Open Source just isn't helping (read the report Sun did of new users on Gnome...you'll realise why you need evils like project managers and marketeers to make a pervasive OS).

Maybe, rather than handing them all the software at once and burying them, we should go back to the old Commodore method of software sales. You get a PC with an OS, it does basically nothing. Learn that. Then we'll hand you your web browser, and when you need it your word processor. If this was how software was received, maybe there'd be time to choose which provider and package you wanted based on informed input. But software is rush, rush, rush...people want everything now, because that's what we've sold them. When you do that, you're openning the door for cruddy software and $35 kickbacks. It's a bit like beer vendors at a baseball game. I'd love to have open competition, with the choice to choose whatever beer I liked for a competitive price. But to prevent a lot of "confusion," the stadium offers a license to only one beer man, who offers a choice of piss yellow beer or piss yellow light beer, each for an abyssmal price. I drink it because it's there and don't really enjoy it. Software on a new PC is the same...you use it because that's what you got, and don't really get to know there's better stuff out there.

Re:My favorite comment... (1)

bigbadwlf (304883) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191027)

I always knew M$ had a lot of nerve, but OMG.
Someone should quote her in M$'s antitrust proceedings.

(Vivek is a woman's name, right?)

Re:When are they going to learn... (3)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191029)

Yeah, but they're going to have keep clicking the 'Cancel" button.

on-screen 'Pop-ups' that will appear five times within the first month of activity(or until the user signs up for AOL, whichever comes first).

Peachy. Beat them into submission. I bet Microsoft is kicking themselves for not having thought of it first.

The revenge of the PC-Makers IV (2)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191031)

"It's a siren call for both an FTC [Federal Trade Commission] and DOJ [Department of Justice] investigation into potential anti-competitive practices," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington consumer advocacy group.

Whom they do expect? Snowhite? I mean who is going to compete in the desktop with Microsoft? I don't like AOL, but competence seems better than monopoly, even if it's imperfect. Only somebody with market power can make such deals interestings to PC makers.

What I find really interesting is that surely now PC makers start realizing their own importance. They had danced to the tune that Microsoft played, but now it seems they can also play a bit. I interpret that like Microsoft is more dependent on the PC makers than the PC makers on Microsoft. Perhaps next time some monopolist or other will think twice before screwing up their resellers when they're ahead of the game.


Re:Instead of 1 (1)

flacco (324089) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191033)

So instead of Big Brother, we'll have Big Brother and Big Sister. Great.

But there's always hope that brother will push sister off the balcony, who will catch the cuff of brother's shirt on the way down.

number of internet users.. shrinking?! (3)

dunkerz (443211) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191038)

Numbers of log-ons and connections is probably declining because more people are using broadband, meaning permanent connections, and the number of dialup connections is going down. This means people are settling with their broadband isp, and forgetting about the multitude of dialups that they used to use to get a decent connection, and also to see which dialup connection suited them best.

Come on, just how likely is it that the number of people getting net access is going down? Well, maybe because the majority now have connections, thus a slowdown in the number of new isp registrations. Seems logical enough, don't you think?


AOL's paying off Retailers (1)

masoncooper (443243) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191039)

The same story on Yahoo News says they are going to pay $35 to the Computer maker for each customer that signs up through their desktop!

Its not all bad... (1)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191040)

Regardless of how wonderful or not AOL's service is, an upcoming version is supposed to be in Java. This means that every one of those AOL installs will be accompanied by an install of a recent, good Sun JVM. This would further the goals advocated in this Slashdot story [slashdot.org] .

Also, since the sticking point in Microsoft bundling AOL with XP was AOL's unwillingness to standardize on IE, AOL must be contemplating emphasizing Netscape over IE (or at least alongside it). That can only be good, since Gecko is coming along nicely, and Netscape 6 supports Java 2. :-)

Granted AOL is another giant megacorp, but at least there is some form of competition happening there, and anything that boosts Java on the client is a good thing IMO. More client software for Linux will be the end result (although I can't see too many Linux folk running AOL).

186,282 mi/s...not just a good idea, its the law!

Re:We're being bombarded! (1)

chemical55 (446280) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191042)

Wrong. Just because somebody does not know how to build their own computer does not mean they deserve to be bombarded by advertisemets and annoying popups. Just as someone who spends their lives coding in a darkened room does not deserve to be ripped off by an auto mechanic just because said geek doesen't know how to fix his own car. Perhaps if stopped thinking about yourself for a change and started working towards a non AOL/MS future we would all be a little bit better off.

This is a good thing (2)

JimRankin (450416) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191045)

AOL and MS should be fighting over how to get customers to use their products and services. That's the way the system's supposed to work. If MS doesn't want AOL to gain the advantage, they should offer the box makers better incentives than AOL does. What MS was doing before was simply decreeing to the box makers what would go on the desktop and prohibiting them from doing the same thing with competitors products.

This shows that the finding that MS was guilty of illegally maintaining their monopoly did not come too late to have an impact. Already, AOL is seizing the opportunity to compete with MS, and others might too.


Sun Tzu's Art of War (2)

idonotexist (450877) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191046)

This book should be manadatory reading for those seeking to capture marketshare from MS or AOL. If MS and AOL engage in a full corporate war, then there is an open possibility for a third party to emerge as victorious --- a party with much fewer resources than either MS or AOL.


squaretorus (459130) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191047)

I've said it before, but let me repeat! NO ONE HAS TO BUY THIS STUFF.
We might WANT to buy this stuff, but if the thought of an MS OS, or and AOL desktop pisses you off enough you WONT. If they piss off enough people they GO BUST.
Its that simple. How many times in the past have some corp been on the brink of all out monopoly when someone just stands up and says "you know - enough people are pissed off that I might just be able to take them on".
If enough are - they will.
Now if you'll all just keep buying the linux, stop buying those damn DVDs you already have on video, and get your caffeine direct from the growers the world will be a better place! We can bring this stuff to a turn - never a stop, Linux will be evil one day, but at least a pause and a change of direction.

Re:Now wait a sec... (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191049)

I don't object to AOL paying for advertisements. I object to them paying for space on what should be MY computer. Just as a television or a radio comes without advertisements and only receives them when I tune to a station that contains ads (most of them, admittedly) so should my computer not contain advertisements until I tune it to a station that contains ads. This means that if I don't intend to use the computer for internet surfing, then I should NEVER have to put up with an ad, because I'm tuning it only to "stations" which are within MY control and whichs hould therefore have no advertisements.

OOBE Process (1)

MrFudd (467039) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191050)

I don't want to experience anything sold, boxed or processed, as a career.
I don't want to process anything boxed, sold, or experienced.
I don't want to buy or sell or repair anything boxed, processed or experienced. You know, as a career. I don't want to do that.

Re:When are they going to learn... (2)

davidcorny (467721) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191055)

But AOL/TW knows that most people are stupid (or just unaware of other and better options) and now they are going to profit from it.

Well, its refreshing to see some competition... (2)

pointyst1ck (470040) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191060)

now it would be nice if that competition led to the lowering of ISP prices, or improving software or service. However. something tells me that that isn't going to happen. I doubt many people who use AOL have ever experienced a good ISP. MS and AOL will continue to compete on which icon the user sees first, since that is probably the one he/she will click on. If two icons from competing ISPs are on the desktop, a battle will ensue over which one is above the other.

Re:indefinatly (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191062)

indefinately must be defined very loosely here. you'd be amazed what the "delete" button can do, when properly applied (this usually involves placing a finger, usually the index, middle, or ring finger over the delete key, and then applying downward pressure until they keyboard registers that the key has been pressed. On some computers, clear instructions will then appear, allowing the user to confirm the "delete" action).

Failing that, theres always deleting registry keys and uninstalling software modules. It would be rather poor of them to not give the modules an uninstall entry, but look at it this way.

If the adverts are too hard to remove and cause too much trouble for the user, less people will buy those computers. The manufacturer will either loose money, or rethink the advertisement paradigm. This isn't like operating systems, where peoples options are severly limited (practically). I would be pleased to see small-business computer vendors benefit from poor marketing desisions on behalf of the big-time players.

Re:Battle of the Titans (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191063)

I stand corrected, thanks for the info.

I am now scared silly.

Re:Er, you *like* aol's e-mail (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191064)

A cursory examination of my post would clearly reveal my email adress as "chaoswave2@aol.com". Registration to post on slashdot is, of course, absolutely free. AOL email is fast, reliable (this is over a cable-modem, remember), has NONE of the idiotic security vunerabilities that microsoft Outlook has, allows decent-sized file transfers (although in recent months/years ive been very dissapointed to see the allowable attachment size drop).

I'm being screwed by AOL? Sounds like you're just another brainwashed victim of the popular opinion. Sure, AOL has its problems, and its not the right choice for everyone. Its not even the right choice for most experienced computer users (which i modestly consider myself). Since you've decided to respond with my post with ill-explained and hostile rhetoric, i will explain to you why i use AOL.

1) My parents pay for it
2) It's easily accessable over the web
3) My AIM name as the same as my Email
3a) My email adress clearly implies my AIM name, which is useful for contact purposes
4) In the 8 years i have used it, i have found the quality of service to be more than adaquate in terms of speed of delivery, message handling, and client-software features (although i use the web client, didnt feel like mucking up my protocols with the client install again).
5) since ive had my email adress for 8 years, i'm going to keep it as long as possible for purposes of availibility

So, coward, how exactly am I getting screwed? The low monthly "bring your own ISP" fee (driven another 2-3 bucks cheaper by paying by the 2-year block..today its..what..9 or 10 bucks a month? of course, since we prepaid for several years [several years ago], it still works out to about 4 a month for us) gets my 5-person family seven email adresses, and access to AOL's content (which I personally find useless, nay, moronic, but is good for my 11 year old sister and Mother), while still allowing us to connect to the internet at broadband speeds.

Re:Er, you *like* aol's e-mail (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191065)

It's called being a college student, and it lends itself to an active and fulfiling social life, i suggest you give it a try.

Of course, i was not merely referring to my IMMEDIATE availibility, but how easy it would be for someone who knew me 8 years ago to track me down again. I am easy to find and easy to communicate with, and through persuit of those principals, my ability to "make things happen" is increased. You obviously narrowed your perception of my statement just to have something to flame about.

ah well, trolls will be trolls.

Re:We're being bombarded! (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191066)

Ah, the trolls are out in force today.

Notice that I also referred to people's options of supporting small-business and dealing with computer savvy friends. I know absolutely nothing about cars, but im not going to make uninformed decisions about my purchases. That's just idiotic. A fool and his money are soon parted, as the cliche goes.

The advertisements are only going to be followed/viewed by people who don't know any better.

Maybe you should work towards educating the user base and allowing them to make informed decisions, not bashing two successful businesses that have made great contributions to media and computing.

Re:We're being bombarded! (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191067)

A load of crap, eh? It's fine to have other interests, but would you trust a multi-million dollar company to choose what computing options are right for you, or someone you can trust to have your personal interests in mind? Careful, the wrong answer will label you a blithering idiot.

I do not own a car, pretty useless to a college student. When I do, however, i plan to spend a great deal of time researching my options, and having long, interesting dialogues with my auto-phile buddies about the things that I learn. Not only will i develop a large knowlege base by participating in some of my freinds' hobbies that I've previously ignored, I will have enabled myself to make COST-EFFICIENT and INTELLIGENT choices about what to buy and who to buy it from. In the process, ill get to know more and more people who will hook me up with cheaper parts and service.

I'm not too busy to make new friends. Are you? that's pretty sad if you are, since networking really makes a difference, especially with large, high maintinance purchases.

Re:Battle of the Titans (2)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191081)

Battle? What battle? When AOL/TW and Microsoft start offering their own BROADBAND internet connections, then be afraid..be very afraid...

They're still fighting over outdated service paradigms.

Re:We're being bombarded! (2)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191082)

You're making a mountain out of a molehill. These irritating advertisements and service offers are only going to apply to people who waste their money on a computer off-the-shelf (or website) by a major manufacturer, like compaq, HP, Dell, what have you. If you're too lazy to build your own computer, get one of your friends to do it, or support small-business, AND you're not smart enough to know how to disable the advertisements and such, then..well..you get what you deserve.

Anyone else seen those free DSL connections that subject you to banner ads? Now, with those, you're getting something in -return- for subjecting yourself to that kind of thing.

Let the marketing monkeys do whatever they like, it only effects the lUsers.

There is no possible way these ads and service announcements will be un-removable (unless they were contained in a persistant-memory module hardwired to replace the data when it's been removed/deactivated...i dont see that happening), and you're not paying any more money to have that crap bundled in. Actually, theoretically, it would -lower- the price of the computer, since the manufacturer is being compensated for the endorsement vector. Maybe its not such a bad thing after all.

Re:Not at all... (2)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191083)

AOL really can't be considered a monopoly even in the ISP department, since it dosent offer cable/dsl/isdn service (although AOL is easily interoperable with such service), plenty of other ISP options exist, and thanks to AOL's exorberant pricing, you can't really call them anticompetative. They even allow you to use AOL at a reduced rate THROUGH another companies ISP (this is what I do)!. That's pretty pro-competative. Now that AOL is allowing third-party Instant messaging clients to interoperate with the AOL messaging network, i think it would be a mistake to compare AOL/TW to the Beast of Redmond.

Re:Er, you *like* aol's e-mail (2)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191084)

Yeah, it would be nice to use POP email with my AOL service, and maybe somewhere down the line they'll impliment this.

Even still though, Outlook has a habit of letting arbitrary code run on your computer. I think its a wonderful program, I just don't feel like depending on such a hilariously vunerable client.

Of course, there are plenty of other email clients out there, just none i like as much as outlook.

As for the spam thing..sorry bucko, but you'll find that no matter where you go.

Actually, this is a fun idea i got from The Register:

My state has a law that says that if you intentionally misrepresent the headers/return path/transmission info/etc of a marketing email, you are breaking a fairly serious law. Many people are cornering spammers like this and extorting money, threatening a high-figure lawsuit (that I could easily win anyhow). Some people have been getting 4000-6000 USD PER-SPAMMER confronted in this fashion.

So kids, turn that spam into college tuition!

::Uncontrollable laughter fit:: (4)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191085)

From the article:

"'AOL's actions are unprecidented and completely anti-consumer' said Microsoft Spokesman Vivek Varma."

::falls off chair laughing::

It's sad to see that big business revolves around the "idiot factor", that is, trying to influence the decisions of the idiots that will use whatever the "Out of Box Experience" dictates they should use.

Business is based on efficiency. Since successful business must be efficient, we can use this trend as proof that most computer users are, in fact, idiots. It's a sad thing.

As for the AOL thing, i use AOL myself just because ive had the same email adress since I was in 7th grade (8 years ago). I use AOL merely as an email client, and use my cable service provider for the actual internet connectivity. This makes AOL service MUCH cheaper (especially when you pay for blocks of years, which my parents do). When you remove the ISP factor out of AOL service, its actually quite good, i would just rather chew aluminum than rely on AOL for my actual internet connection.

Limited market (1)

Mr. Disappointment (470728) | more than 13 years ago | (#2191086)

Doesn't AOL realize that their market is by definition limited. There are only about 6 Billion people on this planet. That is a FINITE number!!!
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