The Great Irony Of Aol Time Warner

Whatever else it may be, the megamerger between America Online and Time Warner is highly ironic. Celebrated as the victory of the new digital economy over the old, the first big conglomerate of the Internet era is actually an industrial-age corporate model of vertical integration based on ownership rather than a Net-centric virtual model based on partnerships. Trumpeted by many as the wave of the future, the merger's logic and valuation are in fact being viewed with reserve and caution in the stock market. Hyped as the revenge of the high-tech nerds, the leading executives in the giant deal are in fact conventional mass-marketers to Middle America. At this point, no one knows whether their business model is the right one for the Net age.

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