AOL Time Warner
There were a lot of questions posed about the market dominance of a combined AOL and Time Warner when their engagement was first announced in January 2000. They got hitched 12 months later, after winning U.S. and European regulatory approval. Then consumers got the bill: a $1.95 increase in AOLs monthly access fee. The unilateral move is a cold bucket of water on anybody who expected a benevolent market dictator to emerge from the new company. Maybe it was the worst advertising downturn in ages that had it hunting for cash the new fees generate $35,880,000 per month in revenue. Maybe it was the miserly top line of only $7.7 billion. Or, just maybe, the P.T. Barnum spirit took hold and managers realized that people who were already paying $2 per month more than the going rate for a service might willingly cough up even more. We choose to send our raspberry to AOL Time Warner as an e-mail attachment.