In the opening keynote to the exhibition portion of Internet World, Steve Case, America Online Inc.'s CEO, focused on where he thinks the online industry needs to go.
He told listeners at the Javits Center in New York that the Internet must be made easier to use, and also has to be both beneficial and safe for consumers. He said that if it fails to do so, the online world will not become as ubiquitous as the telephone or television, which more than 95 per cent of U.S. households have. He predicted that the online world is really still in its opening phase, noting that market penetration has barely cracked 20 percent of U.S. households.
In addition, he noted that economic reality does exist in the virtual world of the Internet.
"Economics 101 does apply to the Internet," said Case. He predicted that a "shakeout and consolidation is going to happen over the next year or so," much like what has happened in the software industry during the last decade.