Subject: Re: Washington Post: Rumor: AOL, RH, in aquisition talks
From: Tom Lord <lord@regexps.com>
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002 18:20:55 -0800 (PST)



Other articles quote RH sources as pursuing the market of individual
users via media rich specialized devices (rather than via the
desktop).  That puts them smartly up against X-box rather than Windows
workstations.  And as approaches to that market go, a credible open
standards approach based on open implementations makes X-box and the
inevitable ancillary merchandise look like a really dumb idea.

A problem to solve for FSBs to tackle that market and make lots of
money (both for profit and to fund development) is to tie revenues
roughly to the number of users.  Cooperative ISPs are well positioned
to help implement that tie. Isn't AOL the biggest ISP anywhere?

So, some kind of deep relationship between RH and AOL/TW is a wise
play for both parties and a potentially huge win for Free and Open
Source developers everywhere.

I'm puzzled as to why AOL/TW would need to or want to *buy* RH for
such a play.  It seems to me that RHs customer relations should be
efficient and effective enough that there'd be no gain in service from
such a purchase.  An independent RH would have big advantages, such as
a clear neutrality when coordinationg AOL/TW with other services, of
all types.  Deriving value for customers from that neutrality should
be one of the core competencies of any company in a RH-like business.
AOL should just hand RH a big bag of money and both companies get to
work building inter-corporate bridges between engineers and business
folk.

AOL/TWs behavior around chat clients suggests that they may be a
little schizo regarding the value of open standards and
implementations to their business, though.

-t