AOL in Negotiations to Acquire Red Hat

Stephen D. Williams
Sun, 20 Jan 2002 13:44:51 -0500

I completely agree with you Luis.  That's why they bought Netscape.  The 
only reason, for most of the IE vs. Netscape 'battle', was that AOL used 
IE as their browser from AOL 3.0 on.  They have always been wary of MS 
and MSN; being assisted as they are by monopoly maintenance actions. 
 Netscape is their hammer, should they need to use it.  I think it's 

I think they are interested in RedHat because of near term use in SetTop 
boxes along with a general long range defense of Xbox, et al.  Remember 
that one of the main reasons AOL 'won' is that they were the first 
'online' provider to embrace the Internet and they did it fairly 

AOL want's a monopoly on the consumer, not necessarily on various 
technology pieces.  Of course if they have strong advantage (AIM), they 
can't throw it away.

If AOL's smart, they'll help build an open technology market where many 
people can play and attempt to take them on and minimize their 
monopolistic tendancies in contrast to he-who-must-not-be-named.  We'll see.


Luis Villa wrote:

>On Sat, 2002-01-19 at 22:43, Eirikur Hallgrimsson wrote:
>>Hmmm.  The points about Mozilla and Winamp are good ones.
>>So, Mozilla is the farm league for Netscape, from their perspective anyway.
>>How DO they make money from Winamp?  Not to mention that it was Nullsoft
>>(the Winamp gang) who unleashed Gnutella.
>One could probably ask the same of Netscape, really. I think the real
>reason they've got NS and Winamp (and why they'd want RH) is leverage
>and independence. Think about it: AOL is a distribution company. They
>want to integrate vertically, so as to maximize their profits and
>minimize the 'inefficiencies' of capitalism. The start of that was to
>buy TW, to provide content. And now AOL/TW buys pipes, to deliver the
>content. The problem is that they can buy those with cash. The final,
>logical step is to buy /all/ the software, so that they can eliminate
>the inefficiency of fighting with and/or paying off the other software
>companies. But they can't buy that with cash, because in the end that
>means buying MS. And so since they can't use cash (their traditional
>source of leverage over pieces of their business) they have to use other
>sources of leverage. Winamp doesn't make them money; it saves them money
>when they negotiate with Real. Mozilla doesn't make them money; it saves
>them money when they negotiate with the maker of that other browser. RH
>(probably) won't make them money; it'll give them leverage when they
>need a cheap license for WinCE for AOL-embedded set-top boxes. And of
>course all of these things are also an insurance policy- they can afford
>to commission RH to build them an entire custom OS and then keep it in a
>closet until the day of the final showdown with Bill and Co., in case,
>despite their cash and leverage, they lose.
>Anyway... that's my two cents before my roommate screams at me for
>writing email on a Saturday night :)
>>Winamp is a nice program.   Stable, too.  You really get to appreciate it, 
>>if you, as I have, pour through the code of xmms, the 'Free as in libre' 
>>clone.  And the Winamp guys have to do all that in Windows.  Xmms is going 
>>to be a LONG time catching up to the scripted skins in the forthcoming 
>>Winamp.   I think.... 
>>Apropos of nothing, I used a sniffer to look at what the Winamp 3 Alpha 
>>does to fetch the list of streams for its 'streams tuner' feature.   What 
>>comes back is pretty weird.  It has an XML header and then a stream of 
>>what looks like binary. 
>>You don't want the Winamp Alpha for Linux x86.   For the moments before it 
>>crashes, it uses an awful lot of CPU just to render MP3.    Good proof of 
>>concept though.   Obviously their porting tools are working very well save 
>>for window positioning and the MP3 decode loop.   They say they aren't 
>>putting any work into it until they have feature-freeze (and maybe ship) 
>>on Windows.