BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : SEPTEMBER 27, 1999 ISSUE
COVER STORY -- E.BIZ -- THE E.BIZ 25

Stephen M. Case


STEPHEN M. CASE

AMERICA ONLINE INC.

Position: Chairman and CEO

Contribution: Attracted 20 million customers by making logging onto the Internet easy and fun. Everybody else is playing catch-up.

Ambition: To make AOL the gateway to e-commerce and one of the world's most valuable companies.

A Q&A with Steve Case is available at ebiz.businessweek.com
Stephen M. Case is to the Internet what RCA's David Sarnoff was to television. More than any other leader in e-business, the 41-year-old chairman of America Online Inc. (AOL) is responsible for bringing the Internet revolution to the masses. By making online access convenient and entertaining, AOL has attracted 20 million subscribers, making it by far the world's largest Internet access provider.

For Case, this is just the beginning. With this potent new medium, he wants to transform the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide--and build a vast cyber empire in the process. Case predicts people everywhere will use their online connections daily to communicate, work, shop, and entertain themselves. ''Instead of viewing the PC as a productivity machine, we've turned it into a communication device,'' says Case. ''It's about...building a sense of community and engaging people.''

His goal, which he dubs the AOL Anywhere strategy, is to make sure that no matter what device or type of service consumers may favor, AOL will remain a trusted, easy-to-use gateway to the Web. The company is working to provide service on the popular handheld Palm computer.

It also has teamed up with satellite broadcaster DirecTV to bring AOL to television--still the most popular appliance in the house.

Long-term, Case expects his biggest rivals will be goliaths Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and AT&T (T). But by blanketing the landscape--to extend people's everyday lives online--Case thinks AOL could vie with them in the 21st century. ''We have a shot at being the most valued and respected company in the world if we play it right,'' he says. So far, he's playing it impeccably.

By Catherine Yang

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BACK TO TOP
RELATED ITEMS
The e.biz 25: Masters of the Web Universe

COVER IMAGE: The e.biz 25

Commentary: The Great Equalizer? Not by a Long Shot

TABLE: Who's Lagging in the Net Age


[empire builders]
Jeffrey P. Bezos
AMAZON.COM INC.

Stephen M. Case
AMERICA ONLINE INC.

Timothy A. Koogle
YAHOO! INC.

[the innovators]
Louis H. Borders
WEBVAN GROUP INC.

Jay S. Walker
PRICELINE.COM

Margaret C. Whitman
EBAY INC.

Glen Meakem
FREE MARKETS ONLINE INC.

James H. Clark
MYCFO INC.

Christos M. Cotsakos
E*TRADE GROUP INC.

[bankrollers]
Masayoshi Son
SOFTBANK CORP., JAPAN

Robert C. Kagle
BENCHMARK CAPITAL

Lawton W. Fitt
GOLDMAN SACHS & CO.

L. John Doerr
KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD & BYERS  

Bernard Arnault
LVMH MOET HENNESSY
LOUIS VUITTON  

[the visionaries]
Mary G. Meeker
MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER

John Hagel III
MCKINSEY & CO.

William Joy
SUN MICROSYSTEMS

[the architects]
Louis V. Gerstner Jr.
IBM CORP.

Pehong Chen
BROADVISION INC.

David C. Peterschmidt
INKTOMI INC.

Kevin J. O'Connor
DOUBLECLICK

Ellen M. Hancock
EXODUS COMMUNICATIONS

[the pace setters]
David S. Pottruck
CHARLES SCHWAB CORP.

John T. Chambers
CISCO SYSTEMS

Michael S. Dell
DELL COMPUTER



INTERACT
E-Mail to Business Week Online

 
Copyright 1999, Bloomberg L.P.
Terms of Use   Privacy Policy