Trust me, not them

How much are corporate promises worth? Depends on the company, apparently.

Although Disney executive Preston Padden is urging the government to ignore America Online and Time Warner's promises to promote competition, he can't resist making a pledge of his own. In a letter to FCC Chairman William Kennard last week, Padden promised that Disney would not abandon its crusade against the AOL and Time Warner merger. Following up to questions raised by FCC commissioners in a hearing last week, Padden said Disney is "absolutely aligned" with consumer groups asking federal regulators to either bar AOL-Time Warner from discriminating against rival content providers or to simply block the merger.

Disney has already secured long-term carriage agreements with Time Warner and isn't using the fight to gain negotiating leverage, he asserted. "The commercial deal is done! What are left unresolved are public policy issues."