Magazine

AOL Time Warner: A Saga of Wasted Opportunity


"A scapegoat named Steve Case" (Editorials, Jan. 27) captures many facets of the AOL Time Warner debacle, and what we can learn from it. But there is no mention of the idea of competently, patiently, and diligently building a durable-quality company. The Time Warner management and board had a company with an enviable track record and, in the right hands, a bright future. They wasted that opportunity.

Case also failed in his true entrepreneurial mission--namely, to build a great, durable company based on his vision of the Internet. Without the merger, the AOL team would have learned hard lessons as the Internet environment and the true economic forces became clearer. They would have been way ahead of where Yahoo! is today.

The upshot? Modern capitalism should be more about building quality businesses, less about flipping them.

Hakan Gormer

London Bruce Nussbaum's "Foreign policy: Bush's new pragmatism" (American News, Jan. 20) shows a great deal of self-criticism--something that the U.S. Administration is incapable of demonstrating. Bush officials have not only destroyed Bill Clinton's legacy but also demonstrated the consequences of a poorly planned and badly implemented foreign policy vision.

Dear officials: Please think twice before acting. The whole world is watching closely. The U.N. is the only forum in which to get international consensus and legitimate support. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and President Jose Mara Aznar of Spain are seen as your puppets. The responsibility of the leadership is yours alone. Failing to accept it will cause long-term damage to the very international institutions that will be needed to fix your mistakes.

Miguel Arabiotorre

Madrid

Nussbaum writes that "the national security paper emphasized...preemption, and preventing any country...from being allowed to ever match U.S. military might....Talk about imperial reach." That policy is exactly what every rational American expects of his government: It is called national defense. Nussbaum has succumbed to the current misuse and abuse of the word "imperialism," obviously taking cues from the foreign nations who envy--and thus despise--U.S. strength.

Lucinda A. Papa

Newark, Del. While business schools can use a variety of measures to "sift for bad apples," they also have available to them the ultimate punishment, should they be willing to take responsibility for their grads: degree revocation ("Why ethics is also B-school business," Management, Jan. 27).

Having earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and being a member of the Association for Investment Management & Research (AIMR) means that I am bound by AIMR's code of ethics. Poor ethical choices in my profession result in losing the right to use the CFA designation. Imagine the career consequences for MBA graduates of losing their degrees.

Matthew Morris

Irving, Tex.


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