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Big Bill's latest monopolistic grab for power - Going head to head with AOL

By Vladinator in MLP
Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 08:22:07 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

MSN goes broadband

Thought the Microsoft/AOL feud was over? Think again. Just as AOL is about to launch the 7.0 version of its popular network software, MS redesigned its own MSN and big Bill signed a deal with three baby Bells to provide MSN with DSL access to more than 90 percent of DSL-capable US homes.

MS CEO Steve Ballmer thinks broadband changes everything and is betting the move to "big pipes" is just the thing to erode AOL's lead. More than four million US households added high-speed access last year, according to Gartner. And despite the recession, 11 million households are projected to opt for broadband by the end of this year. But its not clear MSN's move will do the trick. DSL is the fastest-growing broadband technology, but cable modems are expected to remain the dominant domestic high-speed platform. Microsoft has no deals with cable operators and AOL Time Warner is itself a major player in that space. But Ballmer claims 40 percent of MSN's new subscribers are AOL defectors, lured by MSN's lower prices and improved features. Microsoft is promoting its new look and broadband capabilities with a $50 million ad campaign. Perhaps more importantly, AOL will be conspicuously absent from the desktops of many users using Windows XP. But this is one time the "network effect" may not work to MSN's advantage. AOL has 31 million subscribers to MSN's seven million.

The Obligatory Mindless Links (tm)


Voxel dot net
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o VoxCAST Content Delivery
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I think Steve Balmer is:
o The Anti-Christ 9%
o Osama Bin Ladin 5%
o 0 of 9 of Borg 13%
o A very disturbed little boy 30%
o Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! 40%

Votes: 86
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Microsoft girds for battle of the Net
o Microsoft signs high-speed deals
o MSN vs. AOL in a broadband battle
o Microsoft builds broadband service to rival AOL
o AOL, Microsoft Launch New Internet Software
o MSN, Three Baby Bells In DSL Deal
o Also by Vladinator

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Big Bill's latest monopolistic grab for power - Going head to head with AOL | 31 comments (5 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
kinda like the last us election (3.20 / 5) (#2)
by Sikpup on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:45:56 PM EST

Both choices suck (yeah, I know there were alternatives, and I chose one of them instead).

However chosing between ms and aol, I'll vote ms every time.

Poor Gates! (3.30 / 10) (#5)
by Signal 11 on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:54:26 PM EST

I feel sorry for Bill here. I mean, Microsoft is big, bad, nasty, and has a legal department that instills fear in every country with a GDP less than $250 billion... but on the other hand, "Where do you want to go today?" isn't going to hold up against "So easy to use, no wonder it's #1!" in the eyes of the general public. :/

Microsoft's only hope is to use the backdoors in NT to redirect that Navy smart ship to bomb AOL's headquarters.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

"Where do you want to go today?" (5.00 / 3) (#22)
by twodot72 on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 04:20:05 PM EST

But if they succeed, maybe they can finally change their slogan to "Where do we want you to go today?" I have a feeling that's really what they've wanted all along ;)

[ Parent ]
7 Million subscripbers? Maybe not! (none / 0) (#30)
by winescout on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 12:39:20 PM EST

Like most of Microsofts hyped up subscriber statistics, this one is also misleading and overblown. I am a suscriber to MSN through my DSL provider, but have never been there, and am not likely to ever go.

MS is able to get large suscriber base by bundling it with other products such as DSL for MSN and IE for Passport. They then plop those numbers in their sales pitches to developers for those platforms. I'd like to know what the actual 'active' user base is. It seems like many companies don't want to play a game they'll never be allowed to win, and aren't falling for MS's same old bait and switch tactics.

MS's woes with MSN is a great example of how resiliant a free market econonmy is, even when dealing with a Monopoly. MS has made enemies of almost all its allies as struggles to maintain its position at the top, and is now fairly isolated. It is impossible for a smaller company to enter into a working relationship with MS, and not get burned in the end.

With that type of stature in a competative industry, the only reason they stay on top is because they already are on top, and that is a very shaky platform.

The successfull business model hasn't changed for thousands of years, and MS having abandoned it, will be prey to companies who adhere to it. Provide your customers with the best possible product at the lowest possible price. MS strives to kill competition instead of providing superior products, and their monopoly position allows them to set any pricing scheme they want.

AOL (maybe??), Liberty Alliance, and Linux are all responses to MS's abuse of their positon in the marketplace. Every lowball tactic MS employs only ensures their continued success.

I don't get it. (none / 0) (#31)
by Count Zero on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 03:09:40 PM EST

Some quotes from the linked articles, and my problems with them:

"We have really focused on making it a useful service vs. AOL, which is focusing on making it easy to use and using Time Warner content," Gurry said. "Compared to AOL, we offer more useful services and a wide variety of content from a wide variety of partners.

"And compared to Yahoo, Yahoo hasn't done an update like this in many years, and we are hearing from customers that their technology is getting old and outdated."

What "more useful services" do they offer that are truly unique? Same goes for AOL. I don't need an AOL account to see what is playing at the theater on Moviefone. I don't need MSN to buy airline tickets on Expedia. How is yahoo any more "outdated" than MSN or AOL? Last I checked, Broadcast.com still worked.

"This is going to be the kind of boost that MSN needs," said telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan, "because it puts them back in the race. But whether or not they can win depends on marketing."

This is just sad. God forbid that the better service actually wins. <sigh>

I fail to see what value something like MSN or AOL ads. They are more expensive than other providers, and offer nothing that is not avaliable from any search engine. Even their respective instant messaging services are available without their Internet service.

Obviously they are doing something right from a business perspective to have the userbase they do, but I still do not see how any change they can make will make them more compelling than a cheaper ISP that gets out of my way and doesn't lock me in to a particular browser/email platform. What actual value to the customer does AOL or MSN provide?

Big Bill's latest monopolistic grab for power - Going head to head with AOL | 31 comments (5 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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