AOL: Cut Bugs, Not Heads

I'm really happy about the AOL-Time Warner merger.

Im really happy about the AOL-Time Warner merger. Ever since AOL came out with Version 6.0, the browser has been crashing my Road Runner cable connection. Now that the merger has been completed, its time to start working out the bugs in my system. n Things were fine until AOL Version 6. Since that upgrade, Ive looked at the blue crash screen more than the Web. And AT&T/MediaOne/Road Runner (that cumbersome combination could be the problem) is no help. Its help desk says to contact AOL. But now that AOL is a part owner of Road Runner through Time Warner, it seems its about time for Steve Case to take an interest in building bug-free software. Maybe if all 29 million AOL/ CompuServe users asked him to fix a few bugs before he starts cutting heads at AOL Time Warner, he might listen.

AOL runs on Sun servers, so maybe Scott McNealy could lend a hand at solving this pesky problem, which appears epidemic among Road Runner users.

Of course, it wont happen. Companies caught up in the whirl of getting big think about only one thing: getting bigger while cutting people. And that already seems to be happening with AOL Time Warner. On the same day the company announced cuts to its CNN staff, the newly formed media giant announced a deal with mobile phone giant Nokia for a wireless browser. While browsers on phones are a decent idea, they are not nearly as good as software that works on the systems that are currently in use.

Soon well be getting those annoying AOL disks pasted over the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Maybe then the public will realize how huge and far-reaching the AOL Time Warner empire is. And some day youll get a reminder to renew your subscription while browsing on your AOL-browser-equipped Nokia phone. One click, and youve signed up for another year.

But before AOL Time Warner gets too wrapped up in thinking about future revenues, maybe it should also think about fixing present problems. It can start with my Web connection.