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Monday, October 14, 2002

MSN 8 and AOL 8: Who Cares?!

It's that time again. Microsoft and AOL are both due to release version 8 of their online services this week. Every time they launch a new version of their proprietary online services, they both tout the new releases as groundbreaking, revolutionary, exciting and so on. Nothing could be further from the truth, IMO.

No matter how many new features they build in, these services always seem to be a few years behind the technology available to users of the "independent" Internet. I mean, when's the last time a cool, new feature was first available from MSN or AOL? Hmm, ummm, wait, uhhh... Exactly.

These services always play catch-up because they cater to the mass market of uneducated people who don't understand the Internet unless it is spoon-fed to them by a shady corporate giant that revels in telling their uses how to use the Internet. If I didn't have my beloved cable modem from Charter Communications, and I couldn't get DSL, I would sure as hell never subscribe to MSN or AOL. Maybe Earthlink, but not the Big 2.

Speaking of Earthlink, I can see them becoming a much bigger player in years to come. It's the only large national ISP that doesn't force you into a proprietary system, and it has a good reputation. It's about time they parlay that advantage into higher subscriber numbers. I don't know why they aren't doing it yet, but now that AOL is on the ropes, it's an opportune time to eat away at Steve Case's user base.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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