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  • Monday Rant: AOL’s Peculiar Definition for “All”

    January 1st, 2005

    I’m not surprised when I find that one computing product or another is for Windows only. But when the company involved says it is offering a product or service for “all” users, something has to give. Take, for example, AOL’s highly-touted offer of free virus software for its members. You’ve seen the ads all over the place, and, if you have the Windows version of AOL’s software, you will indeed find a download area for McAfee’s VirusScan. But if you’re logging on from the Mac side of the universe, you’ll discover that AOL’s marketing people need to learn the correct definition for the word “all.” Now it’s not that McAfee doesn’t have Mac software. If you’re a member of Apple’s .Mac service, you can download the latest version of Virex, which is, of course, published by McAfee. I wondered if AOL had made a deal to deliver the same product to its membership, and so I decided to check it out. I logged onto my AOL account, and accessed the virus information area. All right, I wasn’t really surprised to discover that free virus software isn’t being offered to Mac users. Now maybe we don’t need it as much as those Windows users do, but an offer is an offer. AOL’s Mac members pay precisely the same subscription rate as their Windows counterparts. The ad used the word “all,” and there were no terms or conditions displayed that excluded Mac users. I don’t know about you, but I think AOL has enough problems keeping members as it is. Why cheat Mac users out of such membership benefits? Isn’t that false advertising? Of course, AOL’s low-cost Netscape online service isn’t available on the Mac platform either, and the ads for that service also ignore this significant detail. Anyone want to send a dictionary to AOL’s management? Have a nice day.



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