- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2006

The Boeing Corp. yesterday announced that it was exiting the air-borne high-speed Internet business, which it established under the Connexion name. I saw the first glimmer of this ten years ago on an Air Force “test bed” plane, and met with Boeing’s Scott Carson, then-president of the Connexion unit, three years or so back.

The idea was great, but there weren’t enough takers: no major American airline offered the service; C/Net’s Margaret Kane ran down the list of airlines offering the service: “Lufthansa, SAS, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines,” she wrote. That’s a nice assembly, but none of the heavyweights that could have made this a roaring success — American, Continental, United — were there, something tacitly acknowledged by Boeing’s top boss:

“Over the last six years, we have invested substantial time, resources and technology in Connexion by Boeing,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney. “Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected. We believe this decision best balances the long-term interests of all parties with a stake in Connexion by Boeing.”

It’s a shame that Connexion didn’t catch on, but perhaps something else will. There’s nothing like being able to swam IMs at 30,000 feet — is there?

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