July 26, 2006

Steve Case Is "Sorry" For AOL-TW Merger, Sort Of

Originally posted by Staci from paidContent.org, reBlogged by ts

I’m torn between thinking former AOL Chairman Steve Case can’t apologize enough (maybe he could put it on a button and just wear it all the time) and wondering what anyone gains from it. It might be a different story if the apology came with a refund. Case discussed the AOL-TW merger on “The Charlie Rose Show” Monday night. (Still looking for a linkable transcript.) He didn’t just blurt out a confession and it came with a lot of qualifiers, as though Case still can’t quite figure out why such a brilliant idea went AWRY; Rose pushed hard for him to acknowledge the failure in direct terms, asking bluntly, “Are you sorry you did it?” Case: “Yes, I’m sorry I did it. I thought it was the best course for AOL to make sure it was ensured a bright broadband future, and as part of that agreed to step aside as CEO. To make sure the deal would happen. And AOL`s broadband future has not been, obviously, what any of us would have hoped.”

- “Actually, the idea of the merger, of bringing AOL together with Time Warner, having AOL have access to Time Warner`s broadband infrastructure through cable systems and multimedia content, having Time Warner access to AOL`s expertise in the digital area, made tremendous sense, which is and why when I think when we announced the merger everybody agreed. Obviously after we announced the merger, our stock went up more slowly than other Internet companies. So, there were some who actually criticized me at the time hey thought we made a bad deal. But ultimately what it comes down to is execution. One of the lessons learned, I think is is that (the ) idea is important, but leadership and execution is really… what matters.”

- Most of the interview with Rose focused on his new ventures in health care. His entry in the burgeoning online health care field, revolutionhealth.com, is slated for a fall launch.

- Case: “Revolution Health could end up being bigger than AOL in my opinion, if we’re successful, just given a nature of that industry.” (Insert appropriate merger-related wisecrack.)

this one’s for my friends who were at Time Warner companies and I imagine still want to kill this guy. — ts