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Wednesday , June 4 , 2003

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Six of one, and six of the other too.

In case you haven't heard or read about this yet Microsoft and AOL are getting together in a special deal that will allow Microsft's MSN Messenger service to interoperate with AOL Instant Messenger. MS pays AOL $750 million. In exchange, MSN Messenger will work with AIM, MSN's software gets pushed on the bazillions of AIM users, and MS will start pushing PC manufacturers to include AOL CDs with new computers.

Now really, even given the money, AOL is getting the short end of the stick. I mean... EVERYBODY in the world has AOL CDs somewhere, between the couch cushions, propping up the short leg of the table, stored as a back-up in case you run out of candy on Halloween, whatever. So I don't see how giving everyone who buys a new PC one more AOL CD is going to be any kind of big boon for them. I want to meet the guy who opens his PC, sees that AOL CD, and says, "you know, I've re-shingled my house with these dang things... but now that I've got one more, I guess I might as well sign up." I want to meet that guy so that I can verify that he is in fact a living, breathing human and not some sort of odd pseudo-sentient growth of fungus, and then hit him in the head with a tack hammer.

I think what scares me the most about this is that now that AOL and MS are in cahoots on this, there's a potentially near-endless supply of money to help drive alternative IM clients such as Trillian out of the market. I mean, normally I'm all for "allowing the market to decide", but once you get one or more corporate giants with bottomless coffers, the rules change, and any hope of theoretical free-market balance becoming reality goes right out the window.

But on a more positive note, I really do like cookies. Oh, and go vote for RAoK!

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Random Axe of Kindness, its characters, its jokes, and the phrase "invisible hot dogs" are © 2001-2003 Andy Simmons.

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