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Oh my.

It's hard to hear with all the jaws slamming into the ground on Wall Street. In one masterstroke,

Time Warner





have set the world thinking anew about the possibilities of the Net, the possibilities of this new media so widely doubted by the bears.

AOL-Time Warner merger: Join the discussion on our

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This deal is awesome, in the old, awful, inspiring definition of the word, because it makes so much sense. AOL's broadband strategy? Solved with Time Warner's


division and dominant cable business. Time Warner's fumbles with


? Solved with AOL's mammoth online presence.


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access? More global than ever, with the Net and cable converging with this massive deal.

How much has the Net changed the world? While stumbling into the office in the dark predawn of lower Manhattan, I played through my head: Who would be in charge of this company? Who was bigger? No contest.

Steve Case

of AOL is the chairman. Case, laughed at five years ago, is now in charge of

Warner Bros.

movies, of

Ted Turner's

global cable news empire, of

Turner Classic Movies

. He's in charge of



Sure, in the days ahead we'll hear about how

Gerald Levin

is really going to run this thing and how the old hands at Time Warner will take over the real operations of the business. But don't make a mistake: AOL is taking over Time Warner. AOL is the big dog in this show, despite all the history and expertise at Time Warner. What does this mean? Convergence is upon us. Long-discussed issues like broadband and the merging of the Net, broadcast and cable are here, no longer some idea out there a few quarters. Like




combining to declare


dead, AOL and Time Warner are declaring convergence here, even if it will take some time to sort it all out.

For investors, it is time to figure out what's next. The networks --


(CBS) - Get CBS Corporation Class B Report



(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report




(DIS) - Get The Walt Disney Company Report



News Corp.'s

(NWS) - Get News Corporation Report


-- have now got to get moving quickly on the Net. There's no more time for dallying. Also, the big Net companies --



chief among them -- now take on a different light. The valuations previously decried as crazy now have taken on real-world meaning with this deal. And Time Warner and AOL have shown how to combine the old and new.

It's a whole new ballgame in this space, and this is not going to be a single tree falling in the forest.

Dave Kansas is editor-in-chief of In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at