AOL merger reveals new paradigm shifts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2000

OK, so we’ve got mail … and a merger. But what does it really mean? As most Americans try to untangle the web of what is quickly becoming the largest merger in history, the deal announced Monday by AOL and Time Warner is sure to impact all of our lives.

The question is — how?

Chances are, we won’t notice much difference in everyday lives. The real impact is much larger than that.

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The merger, which pairs America’s most popular online service provider with the conglomerate that owns and manages much of our popular media and entertainment outlets, is remarkable in its scope.

It is a powerful statement about the value of this new media — the Internet and its information superhighway — and about the value of the old media, from the venerable Time magazine to CNN.

And it is a powerful comment on our society’s demand for information — from the printed word to the instant message on a computer screen — and how much that demand can drive the market and an industry.

But is it &uot;big brother&uot; in the making?

Probably not.

It is, more likely, an example of a growing mindset in which business leaders are daring to challenge the &uot;that’s the way we’ve always done it&uot; line of thinking. They’re pushing the envelope, taking risks, and daring to ask &uot;why can’t we?&uot;

Ultimately, we should benefit from this merger — and the fallout in the technology industry and other media — if for no other reason than it reveals new paradigms for approaching the business of providing information.

Yes, we’ve got mail … and movies … and news … and entertainment … and much, much more…