Print 31 comment(s) - last by HighWing.. on Feb 8 at 3:15 PM

AOL, once a leader in the online industry, may soon be swallowed by an online suitor

AOL, which was known it is younger days as a widespread internet service provider and search engine leader, and its waning days as a widespread saucer provider, now is looking to make some final preparations which may further lead it down the road to its ultimate demise.

Time Warner, the current owner of AOL has always been slightly wary of its struggling investment, and facing problems of its own.  New Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes, who just assumed his position after succeeding Richard Parsons, announced that he has some big changes planned for AOL.

One of these changes is to split AOL's dwindling Internet-access/service business from its Web-portal and advertising sectors.  The move serves a two fold purpose for Time Warner.

The first advantage of the move is the company can carry out its goal of distancing itself from the cable internet and television business.  Time Warner currently owns a 84% stake in Time Warner Cable which is, despite being the shared name, a separate company.  The company is looking to make "changes" to its interest in TW Cable, but would not disclose what exactly it would be doing and spoke in broad terms.  Analysts predict, though, that they may sell much of their interest, dropping to 50% or less interest.   Meanwhile by splitting of AOL Internet-access, Time Warner can prepare to sell of this business section to another provider company, like Comcast.

Secondarily the split will allow Time Warner to possibly sell of AOL's Web-portal, which includes a search engine and various media to its online competitors.  The Microsoft-Yahoo merger would be disappointing to Time Warner as it would make a sale to either unlikely.  Also, Warner is wary of selling its property to Google Inc. as a major justification for a sale it alleges is to keep AOL competitive with Google.  That doesn't leave many likely candidates to buy the broken remains of AOL, but Mr. Bewkes commented that AOL is "open to any strategic moves that make sense."  However he seemingly contradictorily tried to assure that AOL would be able to remain competitive even if a deal wasn't reached, despite a 70 percent drop in fourth-quarter operating income.

As AOL prepares to be divided and sold off, a new chapter begins in the twilight hour of a former internet superpower.

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It can't happen soon enough!
By SpaceRanger on 2/7/2008 3:35:33 PM , Rating: 2
AOL has been horrid for quite some time now. It's about time they just fade away. I can live without AIM or AOL Mail. Their software has always been shoddy at best.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By marvdmartian on 2/7/2008 3:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
Like I heard from someone (once upon a time), and totally agree with, AO-Hell is the closest thing to a virus that anyone could voluntarily install on their computer! I have NEVER seen a program that integrates itself so totally into every nook & cranny of an OS, as that one does!

Tell ya what, Time Warner........I'll give ya a quarter for AOL......and even then, it's probably 5x what it's actual worth is! Goodbye and good riddance, I say!

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By ZaethDekar on 2/7/2008 3:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
ha! I'll pay a dollar, and then turn AOL into a multi billion dollar company with one easy solution. Turn it into a 3D FPS OS.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By Mitch101 on 2/7/2008 4:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
There was one good thing to AOL. Back in the day I got a lot of free diskettes. Just had to get labels.

By mondo1234 on 2/7/2008 6:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
Here is a good Wallstreet article on Yahoo

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By arazok on 2/7/2008 7:34:28 PM , Rating: 3
I'll remember those days for as long as I live. Every magazine you bought and envelope in the mail had one. It seemed that a day didn't go by where one just landed in your lap.

Brilliant marketing. That strategy was the sole reason AOL became as large as it did.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By Mitch101 on 2/7/2008 4:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like another victim of the winsock.dll replacement.

Then the people would complain that Windows isn't stable when all these different applications they install were replacing core system files with versions they know works only with their program.

Having edit the INI files flashbacks. I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By amanojaku on 2/7/2008 3:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
IMO AIM is the best thing that came out of AOL, and that isn't saying much. Like the main product, AIM has become a bloated piece of garbage, so I use Trillian. I just hope the AIM server stays around because I don't know of any better alternatives. ICQ is crap, MSN is crap, and Yahoo! is crap. It's not so much the services as it's the ad-filled clients and pr0n spammers. Sigh...

By FITCamaro on 2/7/2008 4:23:22 PM , Rating: 1
I like some of the new features of AIM, but yeah its bloated with crap. Why did we need an ad ticker? Or bots to talk to? I mean who says to themselves "I'm going to download a chat program to talk to fake people! Yay!"?

A chat program needs to do two things. Let me chat to people. Support basic file transfer ability. Thats it. It doesn't need to give me the news. Or spam me with ads. Or ask how I'm feeling.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By spluurfg on 2/7/2008 4:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
Skype works. Unlike AIM and MSN it actually tells you when messages are dropped/undeliverable.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By rudy on 2/7/2008 8:39:38 PM , Rating: 1
How can ICQ be crap its run from the same exact protocol as AIM and owned by the same company the only difference is ICQ can send online messages making it better then AIM. AIM has nothing over any other protocol besides that. They all do the same thing give or take a few fringe features. In fact I would tend to say your an idiot if you don't just use ICQ since you can talk to all of your same AIM contacts in addition to being able to send offline messages.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By MrTeal on 2/8/2008 8:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
ICQ wasn't crap before AOL bought it. It was the standard for IMs, and was very pleasant to use. Of course, that changed once AOL started messing with it.

RE: It can't happen soon enough!
By MrSmurf on 2/7/2008 4:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
AOL has been horrid for quite some time now. It's about time they just fade away. I can live without AIM or AOL Mail. Their software has always been shoddy at best.

Thanks for that 10-year-old news flash!

For Sale: junk
By mdogs444 on 2/7/2008 3:39:02 PM , Rating: 5
How much can you sell something for that is worth nothing?

IMHO, they'd be better off posting it on the sale ads on


RE: For Sale: junk
By mooncancook on 2/7/2008 3:49:34 PM , Rating: 2
maybe they are hoping google will buy it since google pretty much buys everything... and then MS will make a competing move to outbid it... good times, too bad I sold my twx stocks already

RE: For Sale: junk
By XToneX on 2/7/2008 3:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
Haaa best post ever. I'll start the bidding at 10 bucks! :D

RE: For Sale: junk
By mmntech on 2/7/2008 5:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
Lol. AOL will never go out of business though since even after the legions of people cancel their accounts, they'll just keep charging them anyway.

RE: For Sale: junk
By StillPimpin on 2/7/2008 9:25:57 PM , Rating: 2
IMHO, they'd be better off posting it on the sale ads on

LOL! Or maybe auction it on eBay with no reservation.

By RamarC on 2/7/2008 4:01:50 PM , Rating: 5
Time Warner, the current owner of AOL has always been slightly wary of its struggling investment

AOL purchased Time Warner for just under $150B when AOL stock was ridiculously overpriced. Then AOL took a $55B write off two years later and traded positions with TW becoming the principal. Ted Turner was so pissed at the AOL 'merger' that he quit the board of directors and liquidated almost all of his AOL-TW stock.

By ElFenix on 2/7/2008 4:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
we need an epic failure picture for AOL-TW

By Sazar on 2/7/2008 4:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yah, he was so pissed off at the merger that he pledged his approx 100 million shares to see the merger happen :)

He was given less power and he led a power struggle that saw almost all the top people jettisoned in one way or another. Finally, his head rolled.

Fortunately for them all, they are all still really rich, unlike a lot of AOL stock holders.

By RamarC on 2/8/2008 10:12:19 AM , Rating: 1
turner was gung ho at first, but like you said he was relegated to odd man out. that's when he started kicking up a fuss because he blamed gerald levin (and steve case) for most of the problems.

turner was a good-ole-boy who made it big by being a maverick. so, i can't fault him for bitchin' when a good portion of the business that he practically invented was being run into the ground.

By VooDooAddict on 2/7/2008 3:46:46 PM , Rating: 4
Combined with the Yahoo IM, and MSN IM... Microsoft could actually unite most of the IM world.

Not commenting that it's good or bad thing. But for buisness a unified IM standard could make IM used inter-company instead of just intra-company.

By dome1234 on 2/7/2008 3:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
and more lawsuits, especially in eu

By djcameron on 2/7/2008 3:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
I remember using QuantumLink on my C64 with a 1200 bps modem(yes, I was a speed king, since most everyone else had a 300 bps modem). Then I bought a PC and joined PC-Link at $6.00/hour for off-peak usage. I was an original beta tester for their America OnLine(AOL) PC software(It was already being used by Mac folks). This was pre-Windows, so it used GEOS as its window manager. As a tester, I got free access 24/7 for almost a whole year. I was out of the country for a few years, and when I came back, there was the Internet in all its wild, wild west glory.

Those were the days...

RE: The Rise and Fall of Quantum Computer Services...
By TomZ on 2/7/08, Rating: 0
By SlipDizzy on 2/7/2008 5:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
Quite frankly, they stole your idea and are so rich they sneeze diamonds.

By Ringold on 2/7/2008 10:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
Being young, naive, and broke, we gave up on the idea.

I wonder how profitable it'd be for someone already wealthy to go back to their alma mater and try to solicit business ideas. Just once a year, maybe. I know a lot of college of businesses already have programs in place to launch start-ups, but the one where I went at least never reached out. Wouldn't even know it existed if not for it having a beautiful office and the name on the door.

Young, broke, had an idea.. but managed to pull it off anyway. Luckily it looks like it has low initial capital expenses. I knew the guy indirectly he ended up partnering with, they did it on their own. Making money on wake up calls -- and some people say the American dream is dead. :P

By Shawn on 2/7/2008 11:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
As long as AIM continues to work I don't care what happens to the company.

lol, good riddance
By UsernameX on 2/8/2008 1:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Like I always use to say.

The crappiest just got crappier!

Still around?
By HighWing on 2/8/2008 3:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, you mean to tell me that people are still paying overpriced AOL prices to access the Internet through a pin hole???? I thought that company died years ago?

Seriously, they had a great idea back in the days of dial-up when all that content was hard to find online. But as the internet got bigger and that content was easier to find in more then once place, AOL's idea wasn't so great anymore. Everyone knows that you have to change with the times, yet as things were changing AOL was still forcing people through that small portal, when most didn't want it anymore. Plus still charging $23.99 to be forced shown info you didn't care about when for $9.99 or even free (netzero late 90's) you could get direct access to the net, it's pretty clear to see what was going to happen. I'm actually surprised people still USE AOL today when there are better and cheaper alternatives.

I think my friend said it best when he said "Picture the Internet as a 4 lane Highway. Now adding AOL to that is like wrecking an 18 wheeler over 3 lanes so only one lane can get through."

Again, I'm surprised AOL is still around as an ISP. Guess thats proof enough that you can do anything with a lot of money.

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