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Even AOL Doesn't Use AOL

Friday, March 22, 2002

AOL's 33 million subscribers apparently don't include employees of AOL Time Warner, the megalo-media enterprise created when AOL gobbled up the Time Warner companies. Immediately after the "largest corporate merger in U.S. history," AOL passed down a directive to the employees of all the arms of the company, requiring them to use AOL's Internet services, including e-mail:

"The e-mail software frequently crashed, staffers weren't able to send messages with large attachments, they were often kicked offline without warning, and if they tried to send messages to large groups of users they were labeled as spammers and locked out of the system. Sometimes, e-mails were just plain lost in the AOL etherworld and never found. And if there was an out-of-office reply function, most people couldn't find it."

The article goes onto describe how Time used FedEx and even paid an employee to deliver printed versions of files via cab. What year is this? In addition to losing 2% of all e-mail, the proprietary nature of AOL's system, which is not built on Internet standards, prevented employees from using portable devices, while, say, doing investigative reporting. It would appear AOL's limited vision (or version) of the Internet isn't broad enough to include its own employees.

Yahoo has more information about the embarrassing situation in which an AOL representative is quick to point out that the software is different than that used by AOL's customers. Of course, this quote comes immediately after Time Inc.'s editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine lambasts Netscape 6.2, which is what AOL is trying to foist upon its users with the next release of its software.

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