The Case Against Steve Case

America Online chief Steven M. Case has grandiose plans, nine lives, and excessive self-confidence, but he is missing the point ("The online world of Steve Case," Cover Story, Apr. 15). AOL's service is terrible: repeated inability to connect, frequent and random disconnects, pricing that is exorbitant for even modest usage, and interminable delays waiting for art to load. All this while I receive yet another in the never-ending series of unsolicited startup disks--as AOL attempts to corral more "members" despite an inability to service those they have now.

It's the service, stupid. I'm looking for a direct-access Internet provider with a flexible pricing plan. When I find one, I am history. If there are others like me, Steve Case will be history, too.

F.J. Krall

Summit, N.J.

A good depiction of Steve Case--not as a whiz kid but as a master of spin. AOL's Mac users still don't have the "telnet" capability enjoyed by their Internet counterparts, which Case has been promising since 1994. The company appears to be held afloat by deficit financing and public relations, helped by new customers--and reporters--who don't know about the Internet. As AOL users discover Internet software that offers everything AOL has--bigger, better, and faster--subscribership will plummet.

David Cassel

San Leandro, Calif.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.