The media giant's writers, film producers, newshounds and broadcasting bigwigs will soon be hearing the ubiquitous "You've got mail" greeting every time they fire up their e-mail. That's because all 86,000 employees of AOL Time Warner have been told to use e-mail powered by the America Online service.
AOL Time Warner's corporate headquarters and its Time Inc. division have begun transitioning to AOL e-mail. Eventually, all employees will use the system.
"We're rolling it out to all divisions in the company," said Tricia Primrose, an AOL spokeswoman.
Since merging in January, AOL and Time Warner have taken steps to weave AOL's Internet services throughout the company. Executives refer to AOL Time Warner as an "Internet-powered media company" to stress the mandate.
Changes have already begun. As one cost-saving measure, the company has integrated all of its Web sites--Netscape.com, Time.com, Warner Bros. Online--into the same network infrastructure. Meanwhile, many of these sites have begun adopting a common toolbar that links to Netscape.com and features download links to AOL services such as AOL Instant Messenger and Netscape's free e-mail.
The recent e-mail mandate means employees will have to load AOL service to check e-mail. Unlike many companies that use corporate e-mail management software, such as Microsoft's Outlook, IBM's Lotus Notes or Qualcomm's Eudora, AOL Time Warner employees will use the same e-mail service as general AOL subscribers.
Primrose added that employees from other divisions can retain their current e-mail addresses. But messages will be routed into their AOL e-mail accounts.