According to the WSJ, Time Warner has abandoned all pretense of “synergy” between its various media divisions, the failed concept that was the sole justification for its merger with AOL. Without synergy–cooperation between divisions to develop next-generation services in music, VOIP, VOD, DVRs, interactive TV, and a host of other applications that have since been launched elsewhere–the merger had no reason for being. Worse, as the article makes clear, the lack of synergy actually gives the merger significant reason NOT to be: Instead of helping the combined company, the divisions just waste each other’s time and piss each other off.
Jeff Bewkes (TW’s president who, to his credit, was never a fan of the merger and now feels comfortable enough to call the synergy concept “bullshit” in the WSJ) is no fool, so it would probably be shortsighted to view yet another Time Warner strategy shift as an excuse to bash the company for the sins of the past. Perhaps synergy is, in fact, bullshit–perhaps the merger was doomed from the moment it popped into Steve Case and Jerry Levin’s bubble-addled heads. If so, however, then why on earth won’t Time Warner just throw in the towel and sell AOL?