Fortune 500 List Reflects ‘New Economy’

Knoxville — America Online broke into the ranks of the Old Economy, making the annual Fortune 500 list.

A University of Tennessee economist said such a development was expected eventually.

“We’ve known for 20 or 30 years about the rapid growth of the service sector,” Dr. Matt Murray said. “Here we’ve got stronger evidence that we are entering a new era, dominated by information technology.”

America Online was no. 337, the only pure Internet service company in the list. Other tech-industry companies made the list, including Dell Computer, MCI Worldcom, and Microsoft.

Murray said AOL’s inclusion shows a shift in how the economy operates.

“By and large, these other companies are producing either a traditional type of good, like computers, or service, like wireless phone service.” Murray said.

“But what you’ve got with AOL is a bringing-together of a number of media technologies, giving consumers access to a whole host of other services.”