Will AOL Own Everything?

America Online could do in the early 21st century what Microsoft did at the end of the 20th: control the flow of key technologies

America Online is America's largest Internet service provider. Twenty-two million members get to the Internet through AOL. If it were a state, AOL would rank second in the nation in population, behind California. The company has a market capitalization of $125 billion--a bit less than the GDP of Denmark. And with its proposed purchase of one of the largest and most powerful media giants, Time Warner, many are beginning to ask, Should we worry about AOL the way the government worries about Microsoft?

Maybe. But to see why, we've got to look at something politicians don't talk about much--architecture.

At the...

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