Friday, February 8, 2008

Here's a press release that will generate no buzz

I came across this news item in one of my many feeds:

"AOL Launches New Website In Australia"

Is it a radical subsidiary or dynamic new style? Some new social network that nobody's seen before? No, it's just an Australian version of AOL's regular website.
The site offers AOL's suite of communications products, advanced video search, media player, and content focused on information and entertainment. users will also have access to a search engine powered by Google, the Internet's leading search engine.
AOL has been around as a BBS since 1989, and they're just now launching an Australian website? They don't even have to translate a language to do this. MySpace was launched in 2003, and they have multilingual sites all over the world. I feel bad for AOL — they were the first face of the net as many knew it, and they are undoubtedly now the last.

Perhaps it's that new media doesn't play well with old media. It sure was interesting to watch Time-Warner move AOL right to the front of AOL-Time-Warner, and then later dispose of the AOL and go back to Time-Warner. It's like they were proud of their new toy, and when they figured out they didn't know how to work it, they put it in the closet. Huge mergers rarely signal that a company is doing its best innovation. It seems like when any multinational corporation arranges a merger, it's really for lack of anything better to do.

Which brings us to Microsoft's bid for Yahoo. While Microsoft is tech, they feel more like old media because they can't think quickly, they can't adapt to the times fluently. Their mandate now is to buy out others who can. I can only fathom that Microsoft would pick up Yahoo, absorb their services somewhat, and then Yahoo would just become as slow as Microsoft to adapt to change.

That said, I hate reading blogs and op-eds intoning that Microsoft's $60 billion gross last year proves they're obsolete. Microsoft is a powerhouse, and so are the major media companies, and wherever they sit on the bell curve of relevance, it's a big bell curve. They're a cash trust and an asset bank. So let's get real.

No matter how much one envisions a world run on OS X or Linux, the tech monoliths and media monopolies are firmly ensconced. Maintaining a huge market share is really just a matter of choosing what flavor of vanilla. Provided they don't aggressively drive consumers away with blunders like Beacon, they'll stick around. At least until the next aimless merger.


smart kitty said...

Yes, but is available in Australian? If not, this site might be able to help you:
Australian Translators
The toilets flush anti-clockwise there, don't you know.

rob getzschman said...

It's not yet, but I saw Crocodile Dundee, so I think we're covered.