AOL may buy AT&T broadband
September 10, 2001 12:47 PM   Subscribe

AOL may buy AT&T broadband in a deal that could allow them to own the browser, net access, data pipes, and content for a vast majority of internet usage and users. How far will AOL/TW go to control any and all forms of media? Are hearings to break the company up far off?
posted by mathowie (14 comments total)
please just let me sit here and injest all that you want me to think and buy. i don't need to think for myself. really, why would the television lie?

think it's time to start reading more books.
posted by chrisroberts at 1:08 PM on September 10, 2001

As long as you buy the right books.
posted by msacheson at 1:11 PM on September 10, 2001

Well, since I am currently using this service.....
someone just shoot me in the head, right now.
I am however looking forward to the fight with Microsoft. If, like the article states, that they will help me out financially on the deal...than maybe, just maybe, soon to come......
posted by bradth27 at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2001

Breakup hearings? Only if the EU somehow takes offense (unlikely). The USDoJ won't intervene, Congress won't intervene, and the FCC will probably cheerlead the whole affair.

But hey, brands are good for you! They help your tiny little minds understand the world around you, without all that irritating choice!
posted by aramaic at 1:20 PM on September 10, 2001

we should start a pool to see when everyone thinks AOL-TW will be declared a possible Monopoly... I give it 5 years.
posted by o2b at 1:28 PM on September 10, 2001

How far will AOL/TW go to control any and all forms of media? Are hearings to break the company up far off?

I'm still waiting to see how the current administration treats the Microsoft verdict. A slap on the wrist or results that lead to a fair market? The fact that AOL-TW merged gives me little faith in the government's desire or ability to give relief and choice to consumers.
posted by skallas at 1:53 PM on September 10, 2001

The admnistration loves corporations and big business. Look for no help on this front. Soon, we will just be ONE BIG OLIVE GARDEN.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:59 PM on September 10, 2001

AT&T sucks. I spent hours on the phone trying to set up the Broadband connection I have now. They have a phone maze you have to get through before they put you on hold where you wait an hour to talk to someone ignorant. I don't know that much about economics, but perhaps AOL taking over would be a good thing---more resources? a centralized, easy to access help line? faster connection speeds? or am i just dumb...?
posted by adrober at 2:00 PM on September 10, 2001

I don't think they're going to get regulatory approval. AOL already owns RoadRunner; if they also pick up AT&T then they'll have a lock on the cable modem business.

I'm half expecting MSN to step forward and buy it. (I'm not kidding.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:06 PM on September 10, 2001

I live in an area in which AT&T just bought out almost all the competition in the area, and is beginning to roll out their broadband services (Digital Cable, Cable Modem, Digital Phone). The problem with these kind of take overs is that rather than streamlining the process, it makes it more complicated. Call into AT&T, ask about getting a new account, tell them you live in Allston/Brighton, MA and you get shunted off to another phone #, which is just the old cable company with a "Thank you for calling AT&T broadband" welcome message slapped on at the beginning. While over time it may become more streamlined, with AT&T still trying to organize its recent acquisitions, passing the whole mess off to someone else is just going to worsen the problem.
posted by turacma at 2:11 PM on September 10, 2001

This will never reach the agreement stage. Sure, the two are in talks, but big corporations are always in talks with each other. What the Fool story doesn't mention is that talk of a merger between AOL-TW and AT&T Broadband was the direct result of comments made by John Malone last week at an analysts' dinner and again during a break at an investor's conference. Malone is a slimy one, and I wouldn't put it past him to fabricate (or at least embellish) merger news to drive his stock up or start a bidding war between Cox/Comcast/AOL-TW.

Supposedly AT&T turned down Comcast's merger offer a few weeks ago because the company knew it would never get government approval. There's still a cap on the number of cable systems one company can own, and that cap was enforced earlier this year when AT&T Broadband was forced to divest some of its assets. So until the government moves on writing out the cap, I don't foresee AT&T agreeing to any merger unless it knows it'll receive FCC approval. Right now, they definitely will not receive that approval...And I think AT&T's smart enough to avoid wasting the time and energy needed to structure a merger agreement it knows won't pass the FCC.
posted by dogmatic at 2:14 PM on September 10, 2001

the only thing that AOL has done well, technologically, is provide the planet with lots of nice diskettes to write over. when they started putting their program on cd, everything was blown to hell. similarilly i dont think they should be allowed to do anything more unless they either bring back the diskette or use CD-RWs
posted by tsarfan at 3:51 PM on September 10, 2001

They won't get regulatory approval because the administration is fundamentally afraid of the internet. They only gave Billy Gates a free pass because it was Clinton's victory, and they do have a fundamental love of rich people.
posted by kcmoryan at 10:03 PM on September 10, 2001

I see Michael Powell wanting to rubber stamp this idiocy, glory of the "free market" and all. Of course, the market ain't exactly free when there's one vendor - is it? Especially the vendor with the largest PA system.
posted by owillis at 11:26 PM on September 10, 2001

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